Chimney Sweep

Pirates rally from 4-run deficit to beat Guardians, snap 5-game dropping streak

With an out in the seventh inning and a Pittsburgh Pirates run behind the Cleveland Guardians, Ji-Man Choi watched and wished while he waited on deck behind Carlos Santana.

“I was hoping he would take a walk so I could probably make a difference up there,” Choi said through interpreter Daniel Park. “When the bases are loaded, I can actually concentrate a little more.”

Choi followed up with a line drive to right field for a two-run single that gave the Pirates the lead and later slid across home plate to score after Jared Triolo’s two-run single that provided the perfect cushion worried.

The Pirates ended their offensive ineptness against Cleveland and rebounded from a four-run deficit with a seventh run from five to a 7-5 win Wednesday afternoon before 26,541 at PNC Park.

The Pirates (42-54) ended a five-game losing streak and failed to win both the three-game streak and six-game home streak after losing three straight losses to the San Francisco Giants over the weekend.

“We were struggling,” said Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds, “so it was good to get a win and make it such a comeback win.”

The Guardians had outplayed the Pirates 21-1 in the first two games of the series. The Pirates had only 10 runs in the five games since the All-Star break and were unwilling to embark on a six-game trip to play the Los Angeles Angels and the San Diego Padres, and in an ominous one Mood.

“It was a big win,” said Pirates manager Derek Shelton. “I give them credit because we kept grinning. It could have been a (bad) situation. We got a run in the first two games and managed it pretty well. They kept going even though they went under.”

The seventh place served as a rallying point for the pirates.

After Nick Gonzales pulled a one-out walk against Nick Sandlin in the seventh game, the Guardians brought in left-hander Sam Hentges to take on pinch-hitter Endy Rodriguez. The rookie catcher, who was 0 for 7 with six strikeouts in his first two career games, hit a bloop single that landed flat left of center in his first major league hit.

“It shows that they trust me,” said Rodriguez, the Pirates’ 2022 minor league player of the year. “That’s good. If they trust me and I trust myself, we’ll have something good. It’s good for me.”

Connor Joe hit a pinch hit for Jack Suwinski and missed an infield single to stress the bases, setting the stage for a crucial play that marked the turning point.

Reynolds missed a sharp grounder in what was initially thought to be a 6-4-3 double play late in the inning on a tight call at first base. The Pirates challenged the call and it was overturned, allowing Gonzales to score and reduce Cleveland’s lead to 4-3.

“I always run hard across the board,” Reynolds said with a shrug. “Of course I was hoping to be safe. I thought it was me when I hit the sack. Basically it was about people having good bats and passing the baton down the line.”

Carlos Santana pulled a full-count walk to again fill in bases for Choi, who aligned the two-run single to the right and gave the Pirates a 5-4 lead.

The Guardians turned to Enyel De Los Santos, but Henry Davis pulled another full-count walk to cover bases for the third time. Triolo hit a two-run single to the left to score Santana and Choi for a 7-4 lead.

“That’s exactly what we talked about, having this big inning where we can get the win,” Triolo said. “We had guys throughout the lineup who swung good balls and had good bats. That’s what it takes.”

Cleveland got a boost when first baseman Josh Bell shot Ryan Borucki’s 2-1 sweeper for his 11th home run — and second in as many games against his former team — Ryan Borucki 401 feet into left field and the stand shortened to 7:5.

David Bednar threw a clean ninth throw, earning his 18th save.

Rich Hill, the Pirates’ left-hander, was knocked out after the first six batters he faced before David Fry hit a leadoff double from Clemente Wall in the third and then advanced to third base through Myles Straw’s sacrificial bunt. But Hill tricked Cam Gallagher into seeing a full-count curveball for a strikeout and then tricked Steven Kwan into dodging to the left, where Reynolds made a diving catch.

The Guardians took a 1-0 lead in the fourth set when Andres Gimenez landed a perfect squeeze bunt on first baseline and Jose Ramirez scored from third base.

Cleveland added three more runs in the fourth run when Amed Rosario hit a two-run double that popped out of Jack Suwinski’s glove when he crashed into the bullpen fence left of center, and Bell followed up with a single to the right Center to make Rosario score 4-0.

The Pirates responded in the fifth set when Davis hit a leadoff single, advanced to third base with Triolo’s single to the left, and scored when Gonzales smoked a single through the middle. Suwinski doubled to the right to hit Triolo and cut the Guardians’ lead to 4-2.

Triolo extended his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest by a Pirates player this season and the second-longest active streak in baseball. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Triolo is only the third Pirates player since 1900 to have a streak of 12 or more games in his first 17 career games, tied with Jewel Ens (1922) and Woody Jensen (1931).

The Pirates pulled Hill after his 97th pitch led to a two-out double from Straw, and Dauri Moreta got Gallagher eyeing a 95-mph four-seater at the top of the zone for what was called a third shot to prevent a run.

“We’re obviously against the urgency of winning,” Hill said. “In my position as a starter, I have to do better and put us in a better winning position and that’s frustrating. But I take full responsibility for that. I think the comeback effect we’ve had all year is because we made it early. We know we can do it and we’ve proven it.”

Kevin Gorman is a Contributor to Tribune-Review. You can contact Kevin via email at or via Twitter.

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