PITTSBURGH — The Pirates had no reason to be tired on Monday, with the All-Star break just three days distant.
But everyone can use an extra cup of coffee every now and then.
Gregory Polanco — El Coffee for short — put up four hits, drove in the winning run, scored two more and threw out a runner at home plate from right field as the Pirates took the first game of their four-game series with the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, 4-2.
Polanco doubled in the fifth to score Jose Osuna to tie the game, doubled in the sixth to score Josh Bell to give the Pirates the lead and singled and scored an insurance run in the eighth inning. He’s now hitting .438 in the month of July after a series of minor injuries contributed to his slump through the first half of the season.
“I feel pretty comfortable,” Polanco said. “I feel pretty good because I’m healthy now. I feel strong. I feel my hands are quick so I can see the ball.”
Polanco had a laundry list of injuries in the first half that prevented him from putting together a run of success like he’s had recently.
”You know like my hamstring, my shoulder, the ankle, my knee, everything,” Polanco said. “Now I feel good, feel strong and I can give my 100 percent every night.”
Defensively, Polanco thew out Milwaukee catcher Manny Pina at home plate while the game was still tied at 2-2 in the sixth. It was the fifth outfield assist of the season for Polanco, who had 10 a year ago. All five of his have come since he was moved back to right field after an early season experiment in left and right is where he’d like to stay.
“I don’t want to go nowhere,” Polanco said. “I want to stay there.”
PLAY AT THE PLATE
Chad Kuhl set a new career high with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings, but the toughest play of the night came while he was running the bases.
After Kuhl singled in the fifth…