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Baseball / Sports

Pirates hang on for 6-5 win against Tampa Bay Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Pirates rode a familiar combination to their fourth consecutive win.

Their starter provided them with another long, bullpen-saving outing. They assembled a multiple-run inning early. Those ingredients also worked Monday, and Tuesday they gave the Pirates a 6-5 win against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, sealing a series win.

Jeff Locke allowed three runs in 71/3 innings. Russell Martin went 2 for 4 with a home run and Neil Walker drove in a run in his first game back from the disabled list.

Locke's outing followed Edinson Volquez's eight-inning start Monday night. The Pirates' starting rotation is 12-5 with a 3.33 ERA in June after Locke's start Tuesday.

Locke's first run came about when Gregory Polanco lost Logan Forsythe's two-out fly ball in the lights in the fifth. The play was ruled a triple, and Jose Molina's double scored Forsythe.

Locke sandwiched that inning with effective pitching before and after until the eighth. Brandon Guyer doubled and Evan Longoria hit a two-run homer, which sent Locke from the game.

Locke now has a 2.54 ERA in his four starts since rejoining the Pirates' rotation.

Mark Melancon allowed two runs on three hits in the ninth inning but still earned the save.

Starling Marte exited the game in the fifth inning because of concussion-like symptoms. He reached on a bizarre play: He popped out softly to first base, but Gregory Polanco, who was on first, was ruled out for interfering with James Loney as Loney tried to make the catch. By rule, Marte was awarded first.

He tried to steal second and was thrown out. As he slid, his head collided with Rays second baseman Sean Rodriguez's knee. He stayed on the ground near the bag as athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk examined him before he was helped off the field. Travis Snider replaced him in left field.

Rays starter Chris Archer had allowed only four earned runs in his previous 402/3 innings, a span of seven starts, prior to Tuesday's game. The Pirates scratched three runs off him in the third, five total -- four earned -- in seven innings.

Polanco manufactured a run in the first. He walked, stole second and went to third when Jose Molina's throw bounced into the outfield. Andrew McCutchen's grounder scored him.

Eight Pirates went to the plate in the third, when they pushed across three runs to extend their lead to 4-0. Pedro Alvarez walked to start the inning. Jordy Mercer bounced a high chopper that resulted in an infield single. Polanco's sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position.

Starling Marte and McCutchen hit RBI singles and Walker scored a run on a sacrifice fly to bring in the runs.

The Pirates added a run in the sixth with help from Ike Davis' two-out double. Josh Harrison singled to left field. Davis, who isn't exactly fleet of foot, went home, but Brandon Guyer's throw was well off line. Davis' run extended the Pirates' lead to 5-1. Martin homered off reliever Brad Boxberger in the eighth.

(c)2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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