Cleveland at Pittsburgh

W: J. Karstens (2-2) L: D. Huff (2-9)
S: O. Dotel (13)
HR: CLE - R. Branyan (9)   PIT - None

Milledge, Pirates avoid historic loss, end 12-game skid wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Pirates hadn't won for so long, they almost forgot how to celebrate.

Maybe that's why their clubhouse stereo blared a little louder than usual, and there were unaccustomed smiles on their faces for not putting themselves in the club's record book.

Lastings Milledge drove in four runs, Andrew McCutchen scored four times and the Pirates avoided matching their longest single-season losing streak in 120 years, ending a 12-game slide by beating the Cleveland Indians 6-4 on Saturday night.

"That's their job, to cause havoc on the bases," Indians shortstop Jason Donald said. "And they got their job done."

McCutchen reached five times with a triple, single and three walks. Pedro Alvarez drove in a key run with his first career hit, a double, as the Pirates opened a 5-1 lead in the fifth inning of the rain-delayed game.

Pittsburgh has had only one 13-game losing streak in a season since 1900, from June 15-28, 2006, and had to win to avoid a second. The Pirates also endured slides of 14 games (1954-55) and 13 games (1916-17) over multiple seasons, and a 23-game streak in 1890 that occurred 10 years before baseball's modern era began.

"We didn't want that," said Jeff Karstens (2-2), who has stopped long losing streaks with both of his victories.

Milledge singled in a run off David Huff (2-9) in the first -- beating the throw even though he slid into the bag -- and tripled in two more in the third. Milledge and Alvarez had successive RBI doubles in the fifth after a McCutchen walk, with Alvarez's opposite-field line drive down the left-field line making it 5-1.

Alvarez, the Pirates' prized prospect, struck out six times while going hitless in his first 11 at-bats.

"I'm sure he's feeling good about himself after getting that out of the way," manager John Russell said.

His parents did. Father Pedro Sr. and mother Luz could be seen hugging and exchanging a kiss in the stands.

Milledge missed a chance for the cycle -- he hasn't homered in 203 at-bats all season -- when he walked leading off the seventh and struck out in the eighth after Garrett Jones singled in a run.

"Yeah, definitely," Milledge said, acknowledging he was swinging for the fences the last time up. "I definitely altered my approach."

As for all that offense, he said, "It was all McCutchen."

Or maybe it was the full house. The Pirates are 4-0 at home this season when playing before crowds of 30,000-plus, and a 1960 World Series reunion attracted 38,008.

Pittsburgh -- winning for the first time since June 5 -- nearly gave the four-run lead back as Cleveland loaded the bases following Russell Branyan's three-run homer in the sixth off Karstens. Evan Meek, the fourth Pittsburgh pitcher of the inning, struck out pinch-hitter Travis Hafner to strand all three runners.

Pittsburgh's five relievers combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings, with Meek getting four outs and Octavio Dotel working the ninth for his 13th save in 16 opportunities.

Karstens got the victory despite the shaky sixth, giving up four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He also pitched six innings to beat St. Louis 2-0 on May 5 and halt a seven-game slide.

Huff struggled again, walking six and giving up six hits and five runs in five innings while losing his third consecutive start and eighth in nine decisions. He already has one more loss than he did while going 11-8 as a rookie last season.

Huff threw only 57 of 104 pitches for strikes, and manager Manny Acta said the club must weigh whether to keep him in the rotation.

"It's simple. You can't field a walk," Huff said of his inability to throw strikes. "You've got to establish the fastball and if you can't do that, you're not going to win ballgames."

  • The Pirates won for the first time in eight interleague games.
  • The start was delayed one hour by rain.
  • Indians rookie C Carlos Santana didn't start after having successive multihit games. He walked as a pinch hitter.
  • 1960 NL Cy Young Award winner Vern Law tossed the ceremonial first pitch.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Finally, something to celebrate.  With a win, the Pirates avoid tying the team's longest skid in 120 years. (AP)
Finally, something to celebrate. With a win, the Pirates avoid tying the team's longest skid in 120 years. (AP)

Players of the Game

L. Milledge
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0

R. Branyan
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

Related Video

Cleveland Indians
Trevor Crowe, CF5120001 .252
Shin-Soo Choo, RF5120001 .288
Austin Kearns, LF4111012 .284
Russell Branyan, 1B4113011 .248
Jhonny Peralta, 3B4020002 .263
Luis Valbuena, 2B3000002 .167
   a- Shelley Duncan, PH1000011 .273
    Anderson Hernandez, 2B0000000 .300
Mike Redmond, C4010001 .211
Jason Donald, SS3000110 .245
David Huff, P2000010 .000
   b- Travis Hafner, PH1000003 .253
    Jensen Lewis, P0000000 .000
    Tony Sipp, P0000000 .000
    Frank Herrmann, P0000000 .000
    Rafael Perez, P0000000 .000
   c- Carlos Santana, PH0000100 .333
a-struck out for Valbuena in the 8th
b-grounded out for Huff in the 6th
c-walked for R. Perez in the 9th
2B - Shin-Soo Choo (13, Karstens), Jhonny Peralta (20, Hanrahan)
HR - Russell Branyan (9, Karstens)
RBI - Austin Kearns (32), Russell Branyan 3 (23)
Team LOB - 7
Cleveland Indians
David Huff (L,2-9) 5655620 6.04
Jensen Lewis 0.2000100 3.26
Tony Sipp 0.2100100 7.25
Frank Herrmann 1.1111010 1.17
Rafael Perez 0.1100010 4.84
IBB - Crosby by David Huff
Pitches-Strikes - David Huff 104-57, Jensen Lewis 20-12, Tony Sipp 29-16, Frank Herrmann 24-15, Rafael Perez 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Huff 7-6, Jensen Lewis 1-1, Tony Sipp 1-1, Frank Herrmann 3-0
Batters Faced - David Huff 27, Jensen Lewis 3, Tony Sipp 4, Frank Herrmann 5, Rafael Perez 2
Pittsburgh Pirates
Jose Tabata, LF5000001 .222
Neil Walker, 2B5010010 .293
Andrew McCutchen, CF2420300 .319
Garrett Jones, 1B4111103 .277
Lastings Milledge, RF4134111 .276
    Octavio Dotel, P0000000 .000
Pedro Alvarez, 3B3011113 .077
Ryan Doumit, C4010013 .259
Bobby Crosby, SS2000203 .214
Jeff Karstens, P2000002 .154
    D.J. Carrasco, P0000000 .000
    Javier Lopez, P0000000 .000
    Evan Meek, P0000000 .000
   a- Andy LaRoche, PH1000002 .233
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Church, RF0000000 .180
a-grounded out for Meek in the 7th
2B - Lastings Milledge (15, Huff), Pedro Alvarez (1, Huff)
3B - Andrew McCutchen (3, Herrmann), Lastings Milledge (2, Huff)
SH - Jeff Karstens (2)
RBI - Garrett Jones (43), Lastings Milledge 4 (22), Pedro Alvarez (1)
2-OUT RBI - Garrett Jones (5), Lastings Milledge (8)
SB - Andrew McCutchen (18, 2nd base off Sipp/Redmond), Garrett Jones (6, 2nd base off R. Perez/Redmond)
Team LOB - 11
Pittsburgh Pirates
Jeff Karstens (W,2-2) 5.1644021 4.72
D.J. Carrasco0100000 3.47
Javier Lopez (H,2) 0.1100000 2.19
Evan Meek (H,4) 1.1000110 0.68
Joel Hanrahan (H,10) 1100020 4.55
Octavio Dotel (S,13) 1000100 5.40
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Karstens 68-48, D.J. Carrasco 9-6, Javier Lopez 6-4, Evan Meek 19-11, Joel Hanrahan 18-12, Octavio Dotel 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Karstens 9-5, Evan Meek 2-1, Octavio Dotel 1-2
Batters Faced - Jeff Karstens 22, D.J. Carrasco 1, Javier Lopez 2, Evan Meek 5, Joel Hanrahan 4, Octavio Dotel 4
Game Information
Attendance - 38008
Game Time - 3:22
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Bruce Dreckman, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Bill Hohn, Third Base - Gary Darling