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Josh Bell blasts Orioles, Pirates get mini sweep

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Bell knocked a two-run home run to give the Pirates the lead and they went on to a 5-3 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday in their final home game of 2017.

On a night fans celebrated Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez, Bell shone brightest with a 3-for-4 performance with three RBIs.

The Pirates took a 1-0 lead on three first-inning singles, by Adam Frazier, McCutchen and Bell. McCutchen, with his future still up in the air, received a rousing ovation before his first and final at-bats of the night.

Baltimore took the lead with a three-run top of thee second against Chad Kuhl.

Alvarez had a short tribute video, with the sounds of Notorious B.I.G., of course, played in his honor in his first game appearance in the city since the Pirates non-tendered him two winters ago. He then knocked a single to right to open the second. Trey Mancini hit a slow roller that stayed along the third-base line, then Chance Sisco and Anthony Santander whacked RBI doubles, with a J.J. Hardy RBI groundout in between.

Kuhl settled down from there, going five-plus innings with five strikeouts, one walk, eight hits and the three runs.

Gregory Polanco connected on a solo homer to right-center in the bottom of the second to cut the Pirates’ deficit to 2-1.

The Bucs made two quick outs in the third, but McCutchen then drew a walk and Bell drilled Gabriel Ynoa’s slider deep over everything in right-center for a two-run homer and a 4-3 Pirates lead.

The Pirates added one more run on Sean Rodriguez’s double and Starling Marte’s infield single in the seventh.

Jack Leathersich and Edgar Santana got out of Kuhl’s jam in the sixth after he gave up two singles. Dovydas Neverauskas and George Kontos got the game to Felipe Rivero, who gave up a double to Santander but otherwise got through the ninth cleanly, with a nice grab from McCutchen in center to seal it.

Cutch got on base three times, going 1-for-2 with two walks.

Alvarez was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles.

The Pirates close the season with four games in Washington starting Thursday.