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(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Back-To-back Homers In 1st Carry Pirates Past Brewers, 2-1 In Game 1

July 14, 2018 - 4:42 pm

By WES CROSBY ,  Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco had one hit apiece on Saturday — a ho-hum afternoon with how hot they've been in recent weeks.

But those two hits, back-to-back homers in the first inning, were all the offense the Pittsburgh Pirates needed to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 in the first game of a doubleheader.

Marte sent an 0-1 pitch from Chase Anderson (6-7) over the center field wall to put the Pirates ahead 1-0. It was his 12th homer this season and extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Polanco then drove Anderson's 3-2 offering over the wall in right for his 15th long ball.

"They put good swings on pitches," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Both of them are hitting the ball extremely well."

Richard Rodriguez (2-2) got the win, retiring all four batters he faced in relief of starter Ivan Nova.

"You've just got to do the best job you can possibly do, especially against a team that is ahead of you," Nova said. "Those guys came in in first place. We've gotten two or three games out of them. We're going to continue to go in and fight, get another one today and keep celebrating."

Felipe Vazquez got the final three outs to earn his career-best 22nd save in 26 opportunities.

Nova allowed one run on seven hits with three strikeouts before being pulled with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. Christian Yelich cut Pittsburgh's lead to 2-1 with an RBI single to right. Lorenzo Cain then singled to load the bases, and Rodriguez struck out Travis Shaw to end the inning with stuff that impressed his manager.

"I loved the sequence," Hurdle said. "Probably two of the better breaking balls he's thrown all year."

Anderson worked into the sixth inning without allowing another run. He gave up six hits, struck out five and walked two. Anderson hadn't allowed more than one run in each of his previous four starts.

"With our offense, you feel like we're going to score some more runs," Anderson said. "But tip the cap. Their team, Nova, made some good pitches when they needed to, and the bullpen's been pitching pretty good. So we've had a really good first half as a team and we're all in kind of a little bit of a slump right now as a team.

"If we can come out and try to win these next two games, and finish on a strong note, that's how we want to go out."

Pittsburgh has won the first three games of its five-game series against Milwaukee, and has won six of its past seven overall. The Brewers have lost four straight and five of their past six.

ROSTER MOVES

Brewers: INF Nate Orf was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs. He has one hit in 14 at-bats (17 plate appearances) with Milwaukee this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: OF Eric Thames (right hamstring tightness) and RHP Junior Guerra (right forearm) were placed on the 10-day disabled list. Thames was injured while tracking a ball hit to right field in the second inning Friday. OF Keon Broxton replaced Thames in right field on Saturday.

Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli was placed on the seven-day disabled list with post-concussive symptoms. C Jacob Stallings was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to replace him on the 25-man roster.

UP NEXT

Brewers: LHP Brent Suter (8-5, 4.53) was set to start the second game of the doubleheader. He was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list (left forearm tightness) after last starting against the Minnesota Twins on July 2, when he allowed five runs in five innings.

Pirates: RHP Clay Holmes (0-1, 7.11) will take the mound for the second game. The rookie surrendered four runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings in his first major league start, and third appearance, against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 4.

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