The weather keeps wreaking havoc on the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers.
Steady rain at PNC Park on Tuesday forced the clubs to postpone a game for the third time in the first month of the season.
Pittsburgh’s offense has cooled off during its current slide and manager Clint Hurdle believes his team’s struggles are part of a somewhat larger trend, one the weather is impacting. There could be more strikeouts than hits across the majors in a month for the first time, and Hurdle pointed to frigid temperatures as an issue.
“This has been the most challenging weather I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m not playing,” said Hurdle, who spent a decade in the majors as a player from 1977-87 before going into coaching. “It’s hard to hit when it’s cold.”
Pittsburgh had more strikeouts than hits in each game while dropping a four-game set with Philadelphia last week. Hurdle pointed to his own experiences as a player as proof that when conditions aren’t ideal, hitting can become painful.
“Sometimes, you can only have one bad at-bat, the first at-bat of a game, in this kind of weather, (and) that can re-arrange your mental furniture,” he said. “I know if I hit a ball right off the end of the bat, that first at-bat, I knew I didn’t want to do it again. Some of my aggressiveness might have leaked out of me.”
Kluber was charged with three runs. He walked three and threw 116 pitches.
Lindor, Michael Brantley and Edwin Encarnacion homered in the first, and Yonder Alonso and Yan Gomes hit consecutive drives in the sixth for a 6-0 lead against Erasmo Ramirez (0-2), who made his second start this season. Brantley added a sacrifice fly in the third and hit the Indians’ first triple this season in the fifth. Brantley and Lindor each had three hits.
Kluber retired 11 in a row after two singles in the third. Haniger hit a two-run homer in the seventh.
Ramirez, who began the season on the disabled list with a strained lat, has allowed seven home runs in 9 2/3 innings.
On a night when the start was delayed by rain for 10 minutes, the Indians hit three homers in the first inning for the first time since Carlos Santana, Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall connected against the New York Yankees’ Chad Green on July 8, 2016.