Polanco drives in five, Pirates rout Diamondbacks

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[May 25, 2016]  PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh's 17 hits didn't bother the Diamondbacks nearly as much as the two hit-by-pitches by a wild and hard-throwing Pirates reliever that put Arizona's middle infielders out of the game.

Gregory Polanco hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-high five runs and the Pirates roughed up struggling Arizona Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller during a 12-1 victory Tuesday night.

What bothered the Diamondbacks was how reliever Arquimedes Caminero -- who was characteristically wild -- roughed up their hitters.

Caminero was ejected after hitting shortstop Nick Ahmed in the chin in the eighth inning, after second baseman Jean Segura was hit on the left side of the head by a 96-mph Caminero fastball that ran up and in the inning before.

Segura's batting helmet absorbed most of the impact of the pitch, and he could walk back to the dugout on his own. He was taken to a nearby hospital to undergo tests for a possible concussion. Ahmed had stitch marks from the baseball on his chin, but apparently seemed fine

"When guys get hit in the head, hit in the face, there's just no place for that in the game," Arizona manager Chip Hale said. "If the guy's not trying to do it, then the guy shouldn't be here (in the major leagues). You can't have that ... that's unacceptable."

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle defended Caminero, who walked 12 and hit a batter in his first 15 2/3 innings, but acknowledged harnessing his control was difficult.

"That's the last thing he wants to do (hit two batters)," Hurdle said. "The one (pitch) to Segura is not where he wanted to go. ... We're doing everything we can to slow this thing down and get it (Caminero's control) back in the right lane, and it's been challenging."

Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano (4-3) also had control issues, getting the win despite being lifted after walking three in the sixth inning -- the final two on eight consecutive balls. He allowed two hits and walked five over 5 2/3 innings.

"I just wanted to throw the pitch down the middle and I was still missing up and down," Liriano said. "Like I said, I just lost it (his control)."

Polanco's homer -- his fifth -- quickly put the Pirates up 3-0 as their first three batters of the game reached and scored against Miller (1-6), whose ERA climbed to 7.09 by the time he left after five innings.

Polanco wasn't sure if he'd gotten all of that pitch when it left his bat, but it sailed well into the seats.

"I know I hit it decent, but I didn't know," he said.

The Pirates put up four three-run innings against Arizona, two against Miller, and matched a season-high 12 runs achieved twice previously, including a 12-10 victory in Phoenix on April 24.

Jordy Mercer's two-run double keyed a three-run Pirates third that included an RBI single by Liriano. Polanco's two-run double preceded Jung Ho Kang's run-scoring single in the sixth.

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Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco (25) rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Miller needed 20 pitches to get an out in the first inning, and 32 to get back to the dugout as four of the first five Pirates batters reached base. John Jaso walked and Andrew McCutchen singled ahead of Polanco's fifth of the season.

Miller was lifted after throwing 107 pitches over five innings, allowing eight hits and six earned runs.

"When you don't have it, you don't have it," Hale said of Miller. "This wasn't one of his better nights. He'd been making progress ... but it just wasn't a good night."

The Pirates benefited from the replay system when they successfully challenged an apparent pickoff of Jaso in the first inning. Jaso returned to first, then scored on Polanco's sixth homer of the season.

The Pirates followed a different scenario during the three-run third. Miller quickly got two outs before allowing Starling Marte's second single in as many at-bats. After Josh Harrison walked, Mercer drove a double to center that scored both runners and extended his hitting streak to eight games.

One batter later, Polanco helped himself with a run-scoring single to left, his eighth hit in his first 22 at-bats of the season. He has 17 hits in his last 24 starts dating to last season.

On the mound, Polanco didn't allow a hit until Phil Gosselin doubled leading off the fourth.

NOTES: Pirates RHP Ryan Vogelsong, struck in the left cheekbone by a 92-mph fastball Monday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with facial fractures. RHP A.J. Schugel was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis. ... The Pirates are playing 21 games in 21 days. ... Diamondbacks RHP Josh Collmenter was scheduled to make another minor league rehabilitation appearance Tuesday night -- he made his second on Sunday -- and could return to the team this weekend, according to manager Chip Hale. He has been on the DL since spring training with right shoulder tightness. ... D-backs OF David Peralta (right wrist inflammation) has begun swinging the bat, and might be ready later this week to play in extended spring training games. Hale hopes he could return by next week. Peralta was placed on the DL retroactive to May 8.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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