A late rally fell short and the Pirates fell to the Indians, 5-4, on Tuesday night at PNC Park.
The Pirates, who failed to advance a runner past second base through eight innings, scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth and loaded the bases on Indians closer Kerry Wood. But Wood got Adam LaRoche to fly out to right for his ninth save.
The Pirates have lost five in a row to fall a season-worst eight games under .500.
Indians rookie left-hander David Huff (3-2) pitched eight scoreless innings. He allowed four hits, striking out two and walking two to win for the third time in his past four starts.
Adam LaRoche hit a 454-foot homer that bounced into the Allegheny River to open the ninth. Brandon Moss and Jack Wilson hit RBI doubles to make it 5-3 and Andrew McCutchen hit a run-scoring single to center to cut the lead to 5-4 and extend his hitting streak to 11 games. McCutchen stole second and Nyjer Morgan and Freddy Sanchez walked, but Adam LaRoche flied out on a 3-2 pitch.
Pirates starter Ian Snell (2-8), coming off one of his best starts of the year, failed to survive the third inning while laboring with control problems. He allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in 2.2 innings.
Snell hasn’t won back-to-back starts since April 2008, a span of 43 starts. In his past 66 starts dating to early 2007, Snell has one two-game winning streak.
Jhonny Peralta homered and drove in three runs and Grady Sizemore, activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, went 2-for-4 with two RBI and added a dazzling over-the-shoulder catch in center field, as the Indians snapped a six-game losing streak.
Snell, who had three consecutive quality starts, threw 50 pitches in an excruciating third inning in which he allowed three hits and walked three batters, and still only retired two batters.
Only 19,109 fans showed up – many of them Indians fans – in what was by far the smallest crowd to see a Pirates-Indians game in Pittsburgh since interleague play began 12 years ago.