Published November 20, 2014
A.J. Burnett became the first Pittsburgh pitcher since 1990 to win six straight starts and Pedro Alvarez homered twice as the Pirates beat the Cleveland Indians 9-2 Saturday.
Burnett (7-2) gave up two runs over 6 2-3 innings. He extended the best stretch by a Pirates pitcher since Doug Drabek won six in a row during his NL Cy Young Award-winning season.
Casey McGehee homered and drove in four runs and Alvarez had three RBIs as the Pirates snapped a four-game losing streak. McGehee broke a 2-all tie with a two-run homer off Ubaldo Jimenez (6-5) in the sixth.
Cleveland's Michael Brantley went 0 for 3 with a walk, halting the majors' longest hitting streak this season at 22 games.
The last Pirates pitcher to win six straight decisions was rookie Zach Duke in 2005. He did it over eight starts to open his career 6-0.
Burnett had not been successful at Progressive Field until handing the Indians their fourth loss in five games. He came in 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA in six previous starts in Cleveland.
The right-hander walked four and gave up six hits, including homers to Asdrubal Cabrera in the first and Casey Kotchman in the fifth. He worked out of two jams.
After Cabrera's homer made it 1-0, Cleveland put two runners on later in the first. Johnny Damon then hit a blooper to short right field, but second baseman Neil Walker made a tumbling, over-the-shoulder catch for the third out.
In the sixth, Cleveland loaded the bases on singles by Cabrera and Jason Kipnis along with Damon's two-out walk. Burnett got Shelley Duncan to pop out to end that threat.
Alvarez tied it in the second with his ninth homer. He added a two-run shot in the ninth off Nick Hagadone. That came after McGehee's two-out, two-run blooper to right made it 7-2.
The Pirates got a run on three straight one-out singles off Jimenez in the third. Garrett Jones' run-scoring hit made it 2-1 before Jimenez got McGehee to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Three innings later, McGehee hit his third homer — all in his last eight starts. He is hitting .440 (11 of 25) the last two weeks against right-handers.
Presley made it 5-2 in the seventh with his fourth homer, off reliever Tony Sipp. It was the fifth homer allowed by Sipp in his last 22 innings.
Jimenez gave up seven hits and four runs over six innings. The right-hander had allowed only two earned runs in two previous starts this month after struggling in May, when he had a 6.75 ERA six starts.
NOTES: Cleveland manager Manny Acta would not comment on whether the team has interest in ex-Indians slugger Manny Ramirez, released by Oakland. He deferred to general manager Chris Antonetti, who replied in an email that club policy is not to comment on specific players. The Indians' lefty-laden lineup is hitting .217 against left-handed pitchers. Ramirez, 40, is a .335 career hitter against lefties. ... Indians DH Travis Hafner, who had right knee surgery May 24, is hitting off a tee and said he hopes to start a rehab assignment "in two weeks". ... Pirates RHP Jeff Karstens, out since April 18 with right shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to begin a rehab Tuesday at Double-A Altoona. ... Damon's walk was the 1,000th of his career. He is 114th all-time.