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It is no secret that Gregory Polanco has had lingering struggles this season. He hasn’t lived up to the hype, it’s as simple as that.

Despite his woes, Polanco has hit better over the last few games, a trend that continued Thursday as the Bucs topped the Phillies, 5-3, to clinch the series victory after being swept by the San Francisco Giants over the weekend.

Polanco led the offensive attack in game four of the four game set in Philadelphia, going 4 for 4 with a home run, a pair of RBIs and two runs scored.

It extends Polanco’s hitting streak to six games and is his second three-hit game in six July contests.

With the suspension to Starling Marte, the Pirates really needed Polanco to step up in his absence. While his .258 batting average isn’t exactly ideal, his play Thursday was exactly what Pirates fans have desired and exactly what the ballclub needed.

Bell continues rookie surge

Josh Bell has emerged in to a young star right before our eyes. The rookie first baseman continued his stellar season Thursday as he went 2 for 5 with a home run – his 16th of the season – and three RBIs.

While his .229 batting average leaves more to be desired, Bell has developed in to an underrated National League Rookie of the Year candidate.

To be honest, if Cody Bellinger wasn’t absolutely mashing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bell might be considered an even bigger threat to take home the award.

Relievers shut down Phillies

The Pirates bullpen hasn’t exactly been at its best this season. Every member of what was once known as the “Shark Tank” have had their fair share of struggles this year, but in the Pirates series victory over the Phillies, they were lights out.

During the four game set, Pirates relievers pitched 11 shutout innings – including one each from Tony Watson and Juan Nicasio Thursday – allowing just five hits while walking three and striking out 13.

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Jose Negron

Jose Negron is a 22 year old journalist from the North Huntingdon area. A recent graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, Jose has written for Rumbunter and Pirates Breakdown for the past year. He is the former Editor in Chief and Sports Editor of Cal U's campus newspaper, the Cal Times. He also covers high school sports for the Mon Valley Independent and serves as a contributor for Pittsburgh Sporting News, covering the Pirates. During the summer of 2015, he also interned with TribLive Radio, writing for their online blog, helping in the production of various radio shows and even appearing on the air.