CLEVELAND (AP) — Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has a simple philosophy when it comes to hot streaks.
“I have a saying that I use all the time,” he said. “I’m not superstitious but just in case, there’s some things I’ll continue to do.”
Whether it’s superstition — or just solid baseball — whatever the Pirates are doing is working.
Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Josh Bell each hit a two-run homer, and Pittsburgh beat the Cleveland Indians 9-4 on Tuesday night for their 11th straight win.
Hurdle, in his 16th season as a big league manager, knows how quickly fortunes can change in baseball but realizes his team is doing something special.
“I can understand not making too much of it,” he said. “(But) I’ve been in the game 44 years and I won’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been on a team that has won 11 games in a row. It hasn’t been 44.”
The Pirates beat the Indians for the second straight night. Marte homered in the first inning, drove in three runs and extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 games.
Polanco homered and Corey Dickerson tripled in two runs when Pittsburgh scored five times in the second. Bell hit a home run in the fifth. The Pirates have homered in a season-high nine straight games, hitting 22 home runs in that span.
Pittsburgh has won 11 in a row for the first time since Sept. 12-22, 1996. The Pirates have won 13 of 14 and are 17-8 since June 24. Pittsburgh has outscored its opponents 43-9 in the last five games.
Musgrove (4-4) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings for his first win since June 29.
“It’s awesome,” he said of the winning streak. “It’s not very often you get to be a part of something like this.”
Shane Bieber (5-2), called up from Triple-A Columbus to make the start, allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings.
Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion returned after missing two games with a bruised right hand and hit a leadoff homer in the fourth. Brandon Guyer added a solo homer in the eighth.
Pittsburgh rolled to a 7-0, rain-shortened win over reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber on Monday and the offense jumped ahead early again.
“Right now, we’re facing a team that if you make a mistake, they capitalize on everything and for two games now, that’s what’s happened,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Dickerson doubled to start the game and Marte drove a 2-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers for his 16th homer.
Pittsburgh’s second-inning runs came with two outs. Dickerson’s drive with runners on first and second sent center fielder Tyler Naquin to the wall. Naquin attempted to make a leaping catch, but the ball glanced off the side of his glove and rolled along the track.
Marte followed with an infield hit, and Polanco got his 18th home run to right. Bell hit his sixth homer to right off Neil Ramirez.
The Pirates are 12-2 in interleague play and have won eight in a row against AL teams.
Cleveland snapped a scoreless streak of 15 innings in the first on Jose Ramirez’s RBI groundout.
Dickerson, Marte and Polanco have fueled the Pirates’ hot streak. The three have combined to hit .382 (26 of 68) with nine homers 24 RBIs over the last five games.
“We’re challenging ourselves,” Dickerson said. “When somebody does something well the other ones are wanting to do something awesome also. We’re kind of holding each other accountable the way we work and those guys are working hard, so it’s paying off.”
Pirates: Dickerson was removed in the bottom of the fourth with left hamstring discomfort after going 2 for 3. He said after the game that he didn’t think the injury was serious.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller (right knee inflammation) allowed four runs in one-third of an inning on a rehab assignment for Double-A Akron on Tuesday. He retired one of the five batters he faced and threw 24 pitches.
James Taillon (7-7, 3.80 ERA) faces Indians All-Star Trevor Bauer (8-6, 2.44) in the series finale Wednesday. Taillon has never faced Cleveland while Bauer beat the Pirates in his only appearance against them in 2015.