Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Winning Streak Hits Eight Dickerson Homers Twice; Bell 4 for 4

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Winning Streak Hits Eight Dickerson Homers Twice; Bell 4 for 4

Article excerpt

CINCINNATI - Anthony DeSclafani had learned his lesson. After starting Corey Dickerson with a curveball in the third inning, the Reds right-hander took note of the way Dickerson deposited the pitch onto the grassy slope beyond the center-field wall. So when Dickerson returned in the fifth, DeSclafani switched tactics. He fed him a first-pitch fastball running inside.

As Dickerson turned on the pitch, DeSclafani turned to watch it sail. The baseball banged off a Budweiser sign in the right-field bleachers at Great American Ball Park, then struck another billboard and bounced back onto the field. DeSclafani scowled. He had not solved Dickerson.

Lately, few have. Dickerson's power surge continued in the Pirates' 6-2 win Saturday with a pair of solo shots, his ninth and 10th home runs this season. As Pittsburgh (50-49) pushed its winning streak to eight games and bumped back above .500, Dickerson has started to sizzle in the leadoff spot, cracking four home runs in the past three games to go with a .307 batting average.

Dickerson has been a bargain for the Pirates, the benefactors of the Tampa Bay Rays' salary shedding this spring, as he is making $5.95 million this season and has one year of arbitration remaining before he reaches free agency. But for a hitter who had 24 and 27 homers in the past two seasons, the fact Dickerson homered only once from May 5 to July 14 came as a surprise.

"I don't call myself [a power hitter]," Dickerson said, "but I tend to get a few every now and again."

He explained that he "picks [his] spots," deciding when he wants to prioritize power over contact. During his recent dry spell, he was still getting his hits, and that's what mattered.

"I'm starting to find the happy medium," Dickerson said.

The Pirates received another solid start, as right-hander Nick Kingham allowed two runs in 6? innings. The offense is humming, too. …

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