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Pirates halt losing skid in dramatic fashion against Twins

Pittsburgh Pirates' Bryan Reynolds (10) is greeted by John Ryan Murphy after he scored from second with the game winning run against the Minnesota Twins on a single by Kevin Newman in the ninth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Pittsburgh. The Pirates won 6-5. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH — Derek Shelton has said all the right things during the Pittsburgh Pirates’ bumpy start, one marred by injuries to the pitching staff and an offense that entered Thursday as the worst in the National League.

The first-year manager praised his players’ attitudes. He pointed to their production late in games they were losing as proof they were mentally engaged. He stressed the importance of patience, even in a truncated season.

It finally — if perhaps only fleetingly — paid off against the hottest team in baseball.

Kevin Newman’s two-run pinch-single with one out in the ninth inning lifted the Pirates to a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday. The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak. Hours after Major League Baseball implemented more stringent social distancing guidelines, Newman and his teammates briefly eschewed them in celebration.

“Kind of a huge bit of relief for myself and the team to be able to come through when we really need one,” Newman said after his fifth career walk-off hit. “It’s a great feeling to come back. Hopefully, this is the start of something a little different than what we’ve had lately.”

Shelton’s first two weeks on the job have been a mishmash of pitchers exiting in pain and hitters unable to generate any momentum in the batter’s box. Still, Shelton saw signs of hope. Pittsburgh’s three-run outburst against Minnesota closer Taylor Rogers (1-1) gave them 14 runs in the ninth inning this season.

Cleveland 13, Cincinnati 0

CLEVELAND (AP) — Jose Ramirez homered from both sides of the plate and drove in four runs, and the Cleveland Indians routed the Cincinnati Reds 13-0 on Thursday.

Ramirez hit a solo drive from the left side against Luis Castillo in the first. He connected again during Cleveland’s 10-run seventh, belting a two-run drive off left-hander Cody Reed.

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