Slam for Cesar Hernandez and massive rally for Cleveland Indians falls simply brief

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PITTSBURGH – Cesar Hernandez doesn’t look like a home run hitter.

It’s slim and built for speed. But he’s already hit 11 homers this season, four fewer than his 2018 career high of 15 with the Phillies.

On Friday evening he was the focus of an impressive but unfortunate rally by the Indians in an 11:10 loss to the Pirates in PNC Park. The Indians were 11-1 behind when Hernandez hit the first Grand Slam of his career, a drive into center field to highlight a six-run seventh inning for the Indians.

The pirates’ lead was reduced to 11: 7.

Hernandez came in third with Bobby Bradley, Josh Naylor in second, and catcher Rene Rivera in first. Naylor and Rivera had already delivered RBI singles in the inning to make it 11-3.

“” I think in these situations my focus is just on looking for pitches that I can handle, said Hernandez, who went 3 for 5 with five RBIs. “A pitch that I can put in the gap. So very simple. I was just trying to get a pitch that I could process and execute. “

It was the first slam by an Indian since Jose Ramirez’s slam against the White Sox on September 24, 2019.

Rivera, who went 3-on-4 with three RBIs, isn’t surprised by Hernandez’s power.

“I’ve played against Cesar many times when he was with the Phillies,” said Rivera. “He always had a really nice swing. He’s got some hits too. He also meets some homers.

“He worked hard to get his club back into swing mode. He finally shows that he can hit and hit with strength. I’m happy for him. I always defend him and hope that he will continue to help us get some runs. “

Hernandez, who beat .224 for the season, said the Indians never stopped trying to get back into the game. They were 5-0 after the first inning and 11-1 back after the sixth.

“I think the idea was that we never lowered our heads,” said Hernandez. “We never gave away at-bats or anything. We gave the same energy, we fight and even if we didn’t get the result that was a win, it says a lot about how we compete and how we try to play the game. “

Rivera drove home one run in the seventh race and two more in the eighth. In the eighth, with bases loaded and two failed, he hit left to meet Ernie Clement and Eddie Rosario. Bradley Zimmer finished third on the hit and came home when midfielder Bryan Reynolds landed the third throw in the pirate shelter.

“I’m thrilled to get the ball in, man,” said Rivera. “I try to focus on the situation in the game. . .I try to just concentrate and just hit the ball. “

The Pirates, who ended a 10-game losing streak with victory, took a 5-0 lead in their first game against JC Mejia. The last thing the Indians needed was another short start because of an overworked bullpen, but Mejia gave them five innings.

“I’m amazing that he can throw five innings,” said Rivera. “I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t think he’d make an inning after that long inning. He gave us five innings and we can use a bit of the bullpen.

“But today is one of those days, it wasn’t sharp. His plumb line wasn’t sharp, a little flat. You received some hard blows. They also got a few mistakes. “

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