CLEVELAND - It was a bad day on all fronts for the Indians.
Cleveland's pitchers allowed four home runs and its batters were hitless with runners in scoring position in Saturday's 9-2 loss to Pittsburgh.
Michael Brantley's 22-game hitting streak - the longest in the majors this season - came to a halt when he went 0 for 3 with a walk. The day ended with the chant of "Let's Go Bucs" reverberating around Progressive Field as several hundred Pittsburgh fans made the trip to see the inter-league rivalry.
"They bombed us away basically," manager Manny Acta said. "Killed us with the long ball. We have to turn the page and get ready to win (Sunday)."
It's been a rocky stretch for the Indians since they took four of six to begin a recent road trip. Cleveland has been outscored 33-13 in dropping four of five. The starting pitching and bullpen have both been hit hard while the offense has struggled in all situations. The Indians were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position Saturday and are 2-for-33 in that category in the last four games.
"The bottom of the lineup has been scuffling," Acta said. "The top of the order and the middle of the lineup have been getting on base. We're battling. That's all we can do. Half of them are doing a good job and half of them are trying to find a way."
Acta would not comment on whether the team has interest in ex-Indians slugger Manny Ramirez, released by Oakland. He deferred to general manager Chris Antonetti, who replied in an email that club policy is not to comment on specific players. The Indians' lefty-laden lineup is hitting .217 against left-handed pitchers. Ramirez, 40, is a .335 career hitter against lefties, but hasn't played in the majors since early last season.
Ubaldo Jimenez (6-5) allowed four runs in six innings, including homers to Pedro Alvarez and Casey McGhee. The right-hander gave up the latter blast at the worst possible time. Casey Kotchman's solo homer in the fifth tied the game, but Jimenez started the sixth by allowing Garrett Jones' single. McGhee followed by hitting Jimenez's first pitch over the 19-foot high wall in left field to give the Pirates a lead they never relinquished.
Asdrubal Cabrera's solo homer in the first gave Cleveland the lead, but Alvarez tied it in the second. Jones' RBI single in the third put the Pirates ahead. Kotchman's homer seemed to give the Indians some momentum, but Jimenez gave that back immediately.
"The guys came back and tied the game," Jimenez said. "As a pitcher, you want to go out there and throw a zero. It's not going to happen every time. I threw a hanging slider (to McGhee) and he made me pay for it."