Josh Naylor’s RBI single in the seventh inning snapped a 1-1 tie and propelled the Cleveland Indians to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates Sunday before a nice Father’s Day crowd at PNC Park.
The loss snapped the Pirates’ modest two-game winning streak, but the Bucs still wound up taking the three-game series from the Tribe.
Despite taking the loss, Pirates starter JT Brubaker pitched a solid game, giving up just three hits while striking out nine in 6 2/3 innings.
Brubaker made one mistake early, and former Pirates farmhand Harold Ramirez made him pay, rocketing a shot into the left field bleachers to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead in the fifth.
The Pirates evened the score in the sixth when Adam Frazier singled with one out and Ke’Bryan Hayes followed with a base hit to put runners at second, and after Bryan Reynolds struck out, Jacob Stallings grounded a single through the left side, scoring Frazier.
In the seventh, Eddie Rosario doubled with one out and after Brubaker retired Harold Ramirez for the second out, left-hander Chasen Shreve came on to relieve Brubaker, who had thrown just 76 pitches to that point.
Naylor, who had been struggling against left-handed pitching, hit the first pitch for an RBI single, scoring Rosario with what proved to be the winning run.
The Pirates mounted a mild threat in the ninth when Ben Gamel drew a one-out walk and then was forced at second on Kevin Newman’s ground out. Newman moved to second on a wild pitch, putting the potential tying run in scoring position, but Colin Moran took a called third strike to end the threat and the game.
The Bucs had little luck against Cleveland starter Sam Hentges, who came into the game with a 7.57 ERA and a 1-1 record. Hentges limited the Pirates to two hits and a walk over five innings of work. The Pirates finished with six hits on the day; no one had more than one.
The Pirates will enjoy their second day off in the last five Monday before resuming play Tuesday with the first game of a quick two-game set with the Chicago White Sox at PNC Park.
In a roster move, the Pirates placed reliever Sam Howard on the injured list with knee tendinitis and added southpaw Austin Davis to the roster. Davis pitched a scoreless inning of relief, walking one and striking out one.