Much-maligned Gregory Polanco made a difference with his bat and his glove Tuesday night, and that proved to be enough to propel the Pittsburgh Pirates to a wild 8-5 victory in 10 innings over the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field.
Polanco beat out an infield single with two outs in the top of the 10th inning to drive home Ke’Bryan Hayes from third base, snapping a 5-5 tie and putting the Bucs on top.
Bryan Reynolds delivered a two-run single in the 10th to add some needed insurance and make a winner out of reliever David Bednar.
Polanco’s game-winning hit came half an inning after his leaping catch in right field with two outs robbed Eduardo Escobar of a game-winning home run and preserved the 5-5 tie.
The odds against the Pirates pulling out a victory were not good, as they were no-hit through 6 1/3 innings and trailed 4-0. But they rallied to score five times in the seventh inning and take a 5-4 lead, only to see the Brewers push across the tying run in the bottom of the seventh.
The Pirates won for just the fourth time in 15 starts against the Brewers this season. Pittsburgh will attempt to win the series when the two teams meet today at 8:10 p.m.
The Brewers led 4-0 and looked to be cruising behind starter Adrian Houser, who did not give up a hit but was lifted with one out in the seventh after issuing his fifth walk of the night and throwing his career-high 104th pitch.
Reliever Daniel Norris promptly ended any suspense when he yielded a solid single to Polanco. The Bucs broke up the shutout when Kevin Newman doubled home Ben Gamel, and after Norris walked Michael Perez on four pitches to load the bases, Norris gave way to John Curtiss.
Reynolds, appearing as a pinch hitter, greeted Curtiss by lining a one-hopper off the leg of Willy Adames at short, and he couldn’t field the hot shot, allowing a run to score and keeping the bases loaded.
They weren’t loaded for long, as Hoy Park ripped a shot inside the bag at first that caromed back toward center field, allowing all three runners to score and giving the Pirates a 5-4 lead.
The Bucs could not hold that lead, however, as Avisail Garcia doubled home Adames in the bottom of the seventh off Chris Stratton, tying the score at 5-5.
The Pirates threatened to take the lead in the eighth as Gamel opened the frame with a self-defense bunt single and John Nogowski singled him to third. But Polanco struck out and Newman flied out to shallow right, and Gamel could not advance. Perez then bounced out to first to end the threat.
The Brewers wasted no time in jumping on Pirates starter Max Kranick, as they used a double from Adames and a base hit by Garcia to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Milwaukee added two more in the third on Adames’ solo home run, Omar Narvaez’s double and another RBI single by Garcia.
Kranick was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth. He surrendered three runs – all earned – five hits and three walks while striking out four in four innings.
The Brewers added to their lead with a run in the fifth off Duane Underwood Jr. Narvaez led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a ground out and scored on Rowdy Tellez’s base hit.