PITTSBURGH (AP) — When veteran pitcher Chris Archer faltered and regular right fielder Gregory Polanco left a game Friday night against Miami with an injury, Pittsburgh turned to the kids to get the job done.
Kevin Kramer recorded his first major league hit and RBI, fellow rookie Jordan Luplow hit a tiebreaking two-run home run and the Pirates rallied to beat the Marlins 5-3.
Archer took a shutout into the sixth, but served up a three-run home run to Miami’s Lewis Brinson to concede the lead. Walking off the field, he pointed to Kramer, making his first big league start, as the player that would be the spark to get the Pirates back in it.
“I said, ‘You’re going to get the knock that’s going to tie the game,'” Archer recalled. “And he did. It was huge. It’s not like the dude was throwing slow.”
Facing reliever Tayron Guerrero (1-3), who regularly tops 100 mph, Kramer just wanted to be quick to the ball.
“I knew he threw hard,” Kramer said. “I had never faced him before. I just wanted to be early, because I knew it would be impossible to be early.”
After Kramer’s single up the middle tied the game, Luplow squared up a 1-2 offering for his third homer to put the Pirates ahead for good.
“It was a great team win,” Archer said. “Baseball can be trying at times, but tonight was a lot of fun.”
Archer struck out six, walked three and gave up five hits. He was disappointed with the walks, particularly one to Brian Anderson just ahead of Brinson’s homer.
Luplow was in the game because Polanco exited with left shoulder and left knee discomfort after sliding into second base awkwardly in the sixth inning. The Pirates didn’t have any further update on his condition.
Richard Rodriguez (4-2) pitched a scoreless inning. Felipe Vazquez worked the ninth for his 31st save.
Josh Bell also hit a two-run shot for Pittsburgh in the second, his first homer since Aug. 11 and ninth of the season.
Miami starter Dan Straily allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings. After giving up a double to Archer in the fifth, Straily left the game with a left oblique strain. He had thrown just 78 pitches. The Marlins said Straily is day-to-day.
“If he keeps trying to go out there and pitch and then he rips it up, then you’re really in trouble because everyone knows how serious that kind of injury can be,” manager Don Mattingly said.
Brinson’s homer was his 11th of the season. He also doubled and finished 3 for 4. Since returning from the minors on Sept. 1, he is 11 for 22.
“It’s all about keeping his backside from collapsing because he has lightning hands and his lower half is solid,” Mattingly said. “If he keeps his lower half solid, then he’s going to hit like this.”
Marlins: SS JT Riddle (wrist) did not start for the fourth straight game and remains day-to-day. Mattingly said he was available to play defense or pinch run.
Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (right forearm strain) pitched off flat ground and off a mound, throwing 20 changeups in his first bullpen work since being placed on the disabled list in late June. He remains on track to return to the mound this season.
Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (6-9, 4.64 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday. He has a 1.77 ERA in 12 home starts and a 9.35 ERA in 10 road starts.
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (7-9, 4.35 ERA) has lost three straight. He has a 3.86 ERA in that span, but the Pirates have not scored a run while he’s been in the game.