PITTSBURGH -- It seemed appropriate that Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco conducted their postgame interview together on Saturday after the Pirates swept a doubleheader against the Brewers at PNC Park. They answered questions in front of Marte's locker, side to side, but it might have been more fitting if they
PITTSBURGH -- It seemed appropriate that Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco conducted their postgame interview together on Saturday after the Pirates swept a doubleheader against the Brewers at PNC Park. They answered questions in front of Marte's locker, side to side, but it might have been more fitting if they stood back to back.
Marte and Polanco hit back-to-back homers in both halves of Pittsburgh's doubleheader triumph against Milwaukee, becoming the third duo in Major League history -- and the second set of Pirates -- to do so. Frank Thomas and Dick Groat twice hit consecutive homers on July 7, 1957, and Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson did it for the A's exactly 11 years later.
"Just be ready to hit. We are aggressive hitters," Polanco said. "Seeing the ball and hitting it. Not thinking too much."
Batting with one out in the first inning of Saturday's opener, Marte launched a fastball from Brewers starter Chase Anderson out to center field. Polanco followed Marte's solo shot by pounding a 94-mph fastball into the right-field seats. That was all the offense the Pirates needed to secure a 2-1 victory.
They came through again in the eighth inning of Game 2 against righty reliever Aaron Wilkerson. Marte led off the inning by crushing an 0-2 curveball to deep left field. Polanco then swatted a 1-2 slider out to right-center field as the Pirates hit five homers in a 6-2 win.
As Polanco rounded the bases, Marte hopped over the dugout railing. Marte was there on the field, in front of the dugout steps, to high-five his friend and fellow outfielder.
"As soon as he hit the ball, I knew it's a homer," Marte said. "I was happy."
Marte and Polanco have emerged from slumps and hit their stride during the Pirates' best stretch in two months. Pittsburgh has won five straight games and seven of its last eight heading into Sunday's first-half finale against Milwaukee.
"It's always fun to win," Polanco said. "We work so hard in the offseason and we prepare our bodies and mentally to come here and help the team because we know we have that potential. Just playing and being us, not trying to overdo things."
Marte quickly heated up after a frigid June and a three-day benching on the West Coast. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games on Saturday while clubbing his 12th and 13th home runs of the season. Polanco has been the Pirates' hottest hitter for more than a month. Over the last 30 days, he's hitting .321/.419/.705 with eight homers and 19 RBIs. On Saturday, he hit his team-leading 15th and 16th home runs while surpassing his personal goal to drive in 50 runs before the All-Star break.
"I've continued to watch them develop and grow, and they've both faced some challenges. They continue to fight, as well," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "They've got a lot of fight in them. The game rewards effort. It rewards attitude. And it rewards work. And you've got to have skills."
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.