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Cleveland Indians beat Pittsburgh Pirates to avoid three-game sweep

Jun 20, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cleveland Indians center fielder Harold Ramirez (40) hits a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Naylor hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh inning and Harold Ramirez homered Sunday as the visiting Cleveland Indians topped the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 to avoid being swept in the three-game series.

Cleveland starter Sam Hentges pitched five scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk, with four strikeouts.

Phil Maton (2-0) gave up a run and three hits in the sixth but struck out the side. James Karinchak pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

Jacob Stallings hit an RBI single for the Pirates.

JT Brubaker (4-6) gave Pittsburgh a strong start despite the loss, going 6 2/3 innings. He gave up two runs and three hits, with no walks and nine strikeouts.

It was a starters’ duel early on.

Hentges, a rookie left-hander pressed into starting duty because of injuries, gave up a leadoff walk to Adam Frazier in the first and, after a double play, a fluky double to Bryan Reynolds, a popup to shallow right that bounced out of the glove of second baseman Cesar Hernandez but was not ruled an error.

He also gave up a leadoff hit to Phillip Evans in the fifth.

Brubaker, meanwhile, was perfect through 4 1/3 innings. Ramirez then broke up any hope of perfection, a no-hitter or a shutout when he hit his sixth homer, to left, for a 1-0 lead.

It was Ramirez’s third homer in two games.

Maton entered in the sixth. After Brubaker struck out swinging, Frazier singled to center and went to second on Ke’Bryan Hayes’ single that dropped into shallow right just fair. After Reynolds struck out, Stallings’ base hit up the middle drove in Frazier for a 1-1 tie.

In the seventh, Amed Rosario hit a one-out double off the wall in right before Ramirez grounded out to second.

With Naylor, a lefty, coming up, Pittsburgh opted to pull Brubaker, a right-hander who was at 76 pitches, for left-handed reliever Chasen Shreve, bringing boos from the fans. The move backfired when Naylor singled to right to bring Rosario home for a 2-1 Cleveland lead.

–Field Level Media