- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Gregory Polanco made manager Clint Hurdle’s decision to move him into the cleanup spot for the first time in his career look like a good one.

Polanco hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and Chad Kuhl pitched six innings for the win after being called up from the minor leagues as the Pirates defeated the San Diego Padres 6-4 on Tuesday night.

Hurdle batted the third-year right fielder fourth for the first time in his career and Polanco’s three-run blast deep into the seats in right-center off Luis Perdomo was his 16th homer, put the Pirates ahead 5-2 and keyed a four-run sixth inning that included Francisco Cervelli’s RBI double.

“He’s been our most efficient guy with RBI percentage,” Hurdle said. “I like Polanco in the four to try something different. Our offense wasn’t producing like I feel we’re capable of producing.”

Polanco said his approach did not change with hitting cleanup.

“As always, when you have two strikes, if you see a pitch close to the plate, you have to swing,” Polanco said. “He left it right there, and I put a good swing on it.”

Kuhl (2-0) allowed two runs and five hits while striking out four and walking four. He made four starts with the Pirates earlier this season and was 6-3 with a 2.37 ERA in 16 starts for Indianapolis.

David Freese had three hits and scored three runs and Josh Harrison added two hits for the Pirates, who improved to 4-6 in a 12-game stretch against teams who are at least 10 games under .500.

Pittsburgh remained three games out of the second NL wild card.

Tony Watson pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.

Perdomo (5-6) was tagged for six runs - five earned - in five innings. The rookie walked three and struck out three as his ERA rose to 6.80.

Padres manager Andy Green felt Perdomo made a mistake on the home run ball to Polanco by trying to challenge him up and in with a fastball.

“He’s not ready to make that pitch in that situation yet because it’s going to come back over the plate and it did,” Green said. “Luis is a power sinker guy right now and that’s the pitch he needed to throw. It’s all part of the learning process.”

Rookie Jabari Blash had two hits and two RBIs, including a solo home run off Watson in the ninth, for the Padres. Wil Myers hit his team-leading 22nd homer, a solo shot off Antonio Bastardo in the eighth inning, and Yangervis Solarte had two hits.

After a 36-minute rain delay, Kuhl gave up both runs in the first inning when Alex Dickerson hit an RBI double and scored on Blash’s single.

The Pirates tied it 2-2 as Sean Rodriguez hit a run-scoring groundout in the second inning and he added an RBI single in the fourth.

“I kind of calmed down after the first inning,” Kuhl said. “I was able to just execute pitches. The first, I felt a little gassed, a little weird. But I started to calm down and get more into a rhythm.”


Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (right shoulder discomfort) will make a rehab start Sunday for Double-A Altoona after pitching a three-inning simulated game Tuesday afternoon, the first time he faced hitters since going on the DL on July 24. . Polanco returned to the starting lineup after being limited to pinch-hitting during the previous four games because of left shoulder discomfort. … Freese started after sitting out Sunday’s loss to Cincinnati with left elbow discomfort.


The Pirates optioned RHP Curtis Partch to Indianapolis to make room for Kuhl. Partch allowed three runs in 2/3 of an inning in two games.


Green is considering giving LHP Clayton Richard a spot start Sunday against the Mets at New York as San Diego is in the midst of playing on 16 consecutive days. Richard pitched a scoreless inning Tuesday.


Padres: RHP Edwin Jackson (2-2, 5.00 ERA) is scheduled to start Wednesday night in the second game of the three-game series after pitching a season-high eight innings to beat Milwaukee last Wednesday. He has a 9-3 career record against the Pirates.

Pirates: RHP Ryan Vogelsong (1-1, 3.25) makes his second start since being out from May 24-Aug. 3 with facial fractures sustained when hit by a pitch. He held Atlanta to one run in six innings in a no-decision last Thursday.

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