Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – Pedro Alvarez drove in what proved to be the game-winning run on his first career hit — a ground-rule double — and the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped their 12-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
It took Alvarez — Pittsburgh’s top prospect who was called up earlier this week — 14 plate appearances before the two-base hit, helping the Pirates snap their longest losing streak since a 13-game skid in 2006. Lastings Milledge came a home run shy of the cycle, driving in four and scoring once, while Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-2 and scored four times.
Jeff Karstens (2-2) earned the first Pirates win since June 5 after allowing four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Octavio Dotel earned his 13th save of the season.
Russell Branyan hit a three-run homer for the Indians, who have lost four of five. David Huff (2-9) fell to 0-6 on the road this season after yielding five runs, six hits and six walks in just five innings.
Cleveland took the early lead on Austin Kearns’ RBI groundout in the first inning, but the Pirates rallied to move in front.
With two down in the first and nobody on, McCutchen and Garrett Jones drew back-to-back four-pitch walks. McCutchen came around to score the tying run on an infield single by Milledge.
In the third, Neil Walker and McCutchen both singled to begin the inning, putting runners on the corners. Walker was retired during a rundown between third and home on Jones’ ground ball, but he remained in play long enough to allow the runners to reach second and third. Milledge followed with a slicing liner to right that got past Shin-Soo Choo for a two-run triple and 3-1 Pirates lead.
Pittsburgh added two more runs in the fifth. McCutchen walked leading off and raced around to score on Milledge’s double off the wall in center. Alvarez followed with an RBI double for his first major league hit and a four- run cushion.
The Indians, though, drew to within one in the sixth on Branyan’s three-run homer that hit off the right field foul pole. Trevor Crowe and Shin-Soo Choo preceeded the blast with a pair of singles to start the inning.
Amidst a flurry of Pittsburgh pitching changes, Cleveland managed to load the bases with two outs later in the sitxh for pinch-hitter Travis Hafner, who grounded out weakly to pitcher Evan Meek.
The Pirates added an insurance run in the eighth on Jones’ two-out RBI single, and Dotel pitched around a one-out walk in the ninth to secure the win and end the streak.
The six walks given up by Huff ties a career-high…Huff is 1-8 in his last 11 starts and hasn’t won since May 23…The Pirates are now 1-7 in interleague play…Both teams had nine hits…Karstens earned his first win since May 8.