Batting fourth for first time, Polanco delivers big-time

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Gregory Polanco follows through on a fifth-inning home run. - GETTY

Gregory Polanco's sore left shoulder held off Clint Hurdle's planned lineup makeover, but delayed gratification might've been worth it in this case.

Slotted into the cleanup spot of the Pirates' lineup for the first time in his major-league career, Polanco cracked a tiebreaking three-run home run in the fifth inning of a 6-4 defeat of San Diego at PNC Park.

"I would've had him in the four spot had he been able to play four days ago," Hurdle said after the win, his team's third in its past four games.

Polanco's balky wing, which he said had been causing him discomfort for around two weeks, limited him to pinch-hit duty for four consecutive games. If not for that, the third-year Pirate would've shifted into the fourth spot of the order Friday night, when Hurdle placed Josh Harrison and Starling Marté at the top of his lineup card for the first time this year.