Hafner’s big big hit came in his first game off of the disabled list and sparked a three-run eighth inning.
The Pirates, coming off a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros, went into Cleveland with history on their side, posting a 15-12 mark against their American League neighbors, their only winning record against an A.L. club.
On this night, however, the Pirates couldn’t gather enough offense to extend that head-to-head lead.
Kevin Correia (8-6, 3.60) was unusually shaky on the road for the Buccos. In the third inning he had a gaffe that put the Indians on the board first. Correia faced shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera with the bases loaded and two outs when he balked, scoring second baseman Orlando Cabrera.
Correia got Cabrera—the shortstop—to fly out following the balk, but the run was still crucial to the Pirates chances of winning, especially against an A.L. opponent that they hardly ever see.
In the fourth, catcher Carlos Santana hit a solo shot to right field, his eighth of the year, which extended the Indians lead to 2-0.
Correia, who came into the game with a 7-1 record on the road, finished his night pitching 5 2/3 innings, allowing only 4 hits and 2 runs—1 earned—but walked 3 and had the balk.
His counterpart, Josh Tomlin (8-4, 3.93), was coming off a streak of three rough starts, but settled in nicely, allowing only 6 hits and 1 run with 5 strikeouts and no walks in 6 2/3 innings. He had 1-2-3 innings in three of his first five, not allowing the Pirates to mount any sort of comeback.
The Bucs only run came in the sixth inning. Ronny Cedeno led off the inning with a double to left, and Xavier Paul singled to drive him home.
Hafner had his insurance hit off of Daniel Moskos. Tim Wood relieved him following three straight hits, and after an intentional walk to Shin-Soo Choo, gave up the fourth hit of the inning to Santana, scoring Asdrubal Cabrera.
Orlando Cabrera finished the scoring with a sac-fly, plating Cord Phelps.
Pirates fans have been able to do some scoreboard watching lately since the club climbed above the .500 mark, and tonight certainly didn’t disappoint. The Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds were all bettered by their A.L. opponents as well, allowing the Pirates to remain only three games out of first place in a tightly-contested National League Central division.
Hafner’s double was looked at by umpires to make sure it was not a three-run bomb.
This was the first time the two clubs met while both sporting winning records.
CROTTA BEGINS REHAB ASSIGNMENT
Right-handed pitcher Mike Crotta has been sent to Altoona on a rehab assignment. The 26-year old rookie began the season with the Pirates, appearing in 15 games with a 9.28 ERA. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 11 with inflammation in his right elbow.
The Bucs continue this three-game series at Progressive Field Saturday night. Paul Maholm (3-7, 3.12) is set to take the field against righty Carlos Carrasco (6-3, 4.09). First pitch is set for 7:05 PM.