Polanco homers as Pirates hold on in extras
MIAMI – Gregory Polanco broke a tie in the 13th inning with his first major league homer, and the Pittsburgh Pirates overcame a ninth-inning meltdown to beat the Miami Marlins 8-6 Friday night.
Polanco, playing in his fourth big league game, went 5 for 7, scored three times and made a run-saving catch in right field.
Clint Barmes singled off Mike Dunn (5-4) to start the 13th and advanced on a sacrifice. Polanco homered on a 2-2 pitch.
Jeanmar Gomez (1-2) pitched four scoreless innings after the Pirates blew a 6-2 lead in the ninth when three relievers combined to issue six walks. The Pirates’ Jeff Locke pitched a career-high eight innings, and the bullpen’s wildness cost him his first victory since Sept. 12.
Miami trailed 6-5 and had runners at first and third with two out in the ninth when Pirates manager Clint Hurdle ordered NL home run and RBI leader Giancarlo Stanton intentionally walked. The strategy backfired when Casey McGehee fell behind 0-2, and then walked against Mark Melancon to tie the game.
Melancon struck out Marcell Ozuna to send the game to the 10th. Gomez stranded two runners in the 12th.
Starling Marte homered and tied a career high with four hits. Ike Davis added a two-run double, and the top four hitters in the Pirates’ order went 13 for 27.
Miami’s Nathan Eovaldi pitched as though he was more worried about his wife’s delivery than his own, which was understandable. Their first child is due, which left Eovaldi’s status in doubt until game time, and he allowed 10 hits and six runs in 4 2-3 innings.
Stanton hit his 18th home run. Rafael Furcal, making his season debut after being sidelined by injuries since 2012, turned two double plays at second base but went 0 for 6.
The Pirates have won seven consecutive series openers, and on Saturday they have a chance to reach .500 for the first time since mid-April.
Locke, making his second start since right-hander Gerrit Cole went on the disabled list, allowed two runs, seven hits and no walks. The left-hander made the NL All-Star team last year but pitched poorly the second half of the season and has spent most of this season in Triple-A.
After Locke departed with a 6-2 lead, Justin Wilson walked two batters in the ninth, and with one out he was replaced by closer Jason Grilli, who gave up three walks. Grilli blew a save for the fourth time in 14 chances.
NOTES: Marlins LF Christian Yelich left the game in the second inning with a strained lower back. His status is day to day. … 2B Michael Martinez made his first start with the Pirates and went 0 for 3. … Pirates OF Josh Harrison (ankle) was held out of the lineup.
Former Pirate Garrett Jones pinch-hit in the ninth for Miami and struck out. … The Pirates’ Russell Martin was safe at second when the Marlins botched a rundown in the fourth, but the call was reversed following a replay review and he was ruled out. … Martin made his 1,000th career start at catcher, which ranks fifth among active players. … RHP Stolmy Pimentel and RHP Vance Worley are candidates to start Sunday for the Pirates in place of LHP Francisco Liriano (left oblique strain). … LHP Randy Wolf (1-2, 4.15 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday for Miami against RHP Charlie Morton (3-7, 3.14 ERA).