Braves Pirates Baseball

Pittsburgh Pirates' Josh Harrison (5) drives in a run with a double off Atlanta Braves starting pitcher R.A. Dickey in the third inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, April 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH — Gregory Polanco had no trouble with R.A. Dickey's knuckleball, getting three of his four hits and driving in a run off the starter to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Atlanta Braves 6-4 on Saturday night.

Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer also got an RBI each for the Pirates, who have won two straight after starting 0-2. Chad Kuhl (1-0) worked five occasionally wild innings to pick up the win. Tony Watson pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam for his second save in two days.

Dickey (0-1), returning to the National League after spending four seasons in Toronto, drove in two runs but also issued four walks and received little help from his defense. Pittsburgh took advantage of two Atlanta errors, three passed balls and a wild pitch by Dickey to score three unearned runs.

Jace Peterson and Kurt Suzuki each had an RBI for the Braves, who fell to 1-4. Atlanta has allowed at least five runs four times this season.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle advised his team not to overthink it against Dickey, whose signature pitch helped him win an NL Cy Young Award with the New York Mets in 2012 and led the Braves to offer him a two-year deal last November, a few days after Dickey's 42nd birthday.

Polanco had a double and two singles against Dickey, then added an RBI single off Ian Krol right after Dickey was lifted in the sixth. The Pirates tagged Dickey for nine hits in his 5 2/3 innings and took advantage when given extra outs by Atlanta's defense or extra bases by Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki, who struggled measuring Dickey's knuckler as it dipped and darted his way.

Pittsburgh pecked at Dickey, scoring twice in the second on Mercer's RBI single and a throwing error by Atlanta third baseman Adonis Garcia. Two more came home in the third when drawn in second baseman Brandon Phillips mishandled a liner by John Jaso and Josh Harrison followed with a run-scoring single.

The Pirates eventually chased Dickey in the sixth when Alen Hanson reached on an infield single, moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on passed ball then raced home after a second passed ball.

Kuhl had control issues of his own and couldn't blame it on the unpredictability of the knuckleball. He walked a career-high six, throwing just 46 of his 85 pitches for strikes. He managed to avoid the big inning and was helped by the Braves hitting into three double plays. Kuhl struck out five while giving up three runs, two earned, in his first start since winning the No. 4 starter's job in spring training.


Braves: Will try to hold LF Matt Kemp out until Tuesday's game in Miami after Kemp's right hamstring tightened up following a sliding catch on Friday.

Pirates: Held 3B David Freese out of the lineup as a precaution. Freese took a ground ball off his clavicle on Friday, leading to minor swelling that made it difficult to swing.


Braves: Julio Teheran, who tossed six shutout innings while getting a no-decision in the opener against the Mets, takes the mound for Atlanta on Sunday.

Pirates: Gerrit Cole makes his second start of the season in the series finale. Cole gave up five runs, all in the fifth inning, during an opening day loss to Boston.

Trending Video

Recommended for you