Hunter Pence’s pinch-hit grand slam helps Rangers rally past Pirates

In a game full of monster shots, Hunter Pence hit the biggest of all.

Pence connected for a pinch-hit grand slam and Texas rallied to beat the Pirates 9-6 in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

The Rangers trailed 6-2 before three walks by reliever Michael Feliz in the eighth loaded the bases for Pence. He sent the first pitch off the foul pole in left field to tie it.

Pence, 36, once hit 27 homers in a season, but that was in 2013 with the Giants. He hit four in 2018, then signed a minor-league contract with Texas in February.

His power stroke might be returning. Pence hit a home run and two doubles in the first game of the series Tuesday before equaling his 2018 total with his fourth homer of the season Wednesday.

“Trust my approach and hit it. That was all I was focused on,” Pence said.

Texas manager Chris Woodward was focused on putting up Pence in the right spot.

“He’s a remarkable human being, man,” Woodward said. “I let him know, ‘Hey, I want to make sure when you hit, it’s a situation where you’re either going to tie it or plate a run.’”

Joey Gallo, who gave the Rangers an early lead with a two-run shot, said Pence has been a positive example for the Rangers.

“He’s always ready to come in the game,” Gallo said. “I think that says a lot for a guy with that much experience.”

Josh Bell’s estimated 472-foot drive, his ninth homer of the season, tied the game 2-2 in the Pittsburgh fourth and was the fourth to reach the Allegheny River on a fly.

Red Sox 2, Orioles 1: Andrew Benintendi hit a solo home run in the 12th inning for visiting Boston. Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. went above the wall to deny Baltimore’s Trey Mancini of a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th. Boston starter Chris Sale struck out 14 and allowed one run, three hits and no walks in eight stellar innings. He didn’t allow a hit until the sixth.

Cubs 3, Marlins 2: Jason Heyward’s homer leading off the bottom of the 11th inning lifted Chicago past Miami. The game marked the return of Cubs infielder Addison Russell, who had completed a 40-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic-violence policy and spent time in the minors to get ready. He started at second base, going 0-3 with a walk, and received a mix of polite applause and boos from the Wrigley Field crowd.

Astros 9, Royals 0: Michael Brantley homered twice, Brad Peacock pitched seven innings and Josh James finished the three-hitter for host Houston.

Padres 3, Mets 2: Hunter Renfroe hit a tie-breaking solo shot in the seventh inning, center fielder Manuel Margot robbed New York rookie Pete Alonso of a homer, and host San Diego beat the Mets.

Diamondbacks 3, Rays 2: Wilmer Flores broke a 13th-inning tie with an RBI single as visiting Arizona ended a three-game losing streak.

Brewers 7, Nationals 3: Christian Yelich hit his major-leading-leading 16th home run and host Milwaukee won its sixth straight game.

Dodgers 9, Braves 4: Max Muncy, Justin Turner and Kiké Hernandez homered, and Clayton Kershaw pitched 6 ⅔ solid innings as host Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep of Atlanta. Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a two-run homer for the Braves.

Phillies 5, Cardinals 0: Jerad Eickhoff allowed three hits in eight innings, César Hernández homered and drove in three runs, and visiting Philadelphia beat St. Louis.

Indians 5, White Sox 3: Jose Ramirez hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning for host Cleveland.

Mariners 10, Yankees 1: Yusei Kikuchi was brilliant on the mound in his Yankee Stadium debut, retiring 16 batters in a row at one point, Ryon Healy had four extra-base hits, and Seattle routed New York.

Twins 9, Blue Jays 1: Jorge Polanco had five hits, including a two-run homer, Kyle Gibson struck out a career-high 11 and visiting Minnesota swept struggling Toronto.

Tigers 10, Angels 3: Ronny Rodriguez drove in a career-high four runs and Matthew Boyd pitched six strong innings for host Detroit.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Hunter-Pence-s-pinch-hit-grand-slam-helps-13831065.php.

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