The Pittsburgh Pirates got some offense from a couple of least likely suspects Saturday to help Trevor Cahill post his first win of the season, a 6-2 decision over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Michael Perez, who entered play Saturday with one hit in 18 at-bats, doubled home two runs in a three-run second inning and then belted a solo home run in the fifth to help the Pirates add on to what had been a 3-1 lead. He went 3 for 3 on the day.
Kevin Newman, who had been struggling in his own right, followed Perez’s home run with another solo shot of Twins starter Michael Pineda, who had entered the game with a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings over three starts. Newman later contributed a sacrifice fly.
The win pulled the Pirates to within a game of the .500 mark at 10-11 and they’ll have a chance to take the series when they meet the Twins in a 2:10 p.m. start today in Minneapolis.
Matt Shoemaker (1-1, 6.28 ERA) is scheduled to start for Minnesota, and the Pirates had not designated a starter as of late Saturday afternoon.
Cahill turned in his best performance as a Pirate, working six innings and yielding just two hits and a run while walking two and striking out a pair. Relivers Duane Underwood Jr., Kyle Crick and Richard Rodriguez finished up by allowing one unearned run – thanks to a dropped flyball in the sun by Phillip Evans in left field — on one hit.
The Pirates staked Cahill to an early lead, scoring three times of Pineda in the second inning.
With one out, Erik Gonzalez singled, and Gregory Polanco followed with a double, sending Gonzalez to third.
Todd Frazier then reached on a throwing error, allowing Gonzalez to score and moving Polanco to third.
Perez, who had been struggling at the plate all season, then doubled to center, scoring both Polanco and Frazier.
The Pirates could have added on, but Pineda induced Newman to line out to center and he retired Adam Frazier on a fly ball to left.
The Twins got one back in the bottom of the second on a walk, Willians Astudillo’s base hit and Jake Cave’s double.
Cahill then walked Ryan Jeffers to load the bases, but Luis Arraez flied out to center.