Kang notches first big league homer vs. Cards

Manager Hurdle encouraged by infielder's progress

Kang notches first big league homer vs. Cards

ST. LOUIS -- The most striking thing about Jung Ho Kang's first Major League home run wasn't how hard and far he hit it -- and it was darn impressive on both counts -- but how relatively slow Trevor Rosenthal had thrown the pitch he hit.

Rosenthal, the Cardinals' closer, is a fireman both in job description and stuff. The scouting reports on Rosenthal, the only thing Kang had seen before stepping into the batter's box to face him in the ninth inning Sunday, doubtlessly boldfaced his near-100-mph fastball.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kang, Alvarez homer, but Bucs fall in extras

Kang, Alvarez homer, but Bucs fall in extras

ST. LOUIS -- Kolten Wong's home run with one out in the 14th inning Sunday gave the Cardinals a 3-2 victory over the Pirates and extended to six a winning streak half-comprised of pulsating, extra-inning walk-off wins over Pittsburgh.

Wong's smash off Radhames Liz into the right-field seats above the Cardinals' bullpen punctuated an astonishingly well-pitched series in which St. Louis starters and relievers performed up to their National League-best ranking. Sunday's win followed 2-1 wins in 10 innings on Friday and in 11 innings on Saturday for St. Louis.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs' starting pitching bright spot in recent losses

Three starters combined for 0.90 ERA in series vs. Cardinals

Bucs' starting pitching bright spot in recent losses

ST. LOUIS -- There were some mighty big numbers in the fabulous Pirates-Cardinals series. Like 1,048 pitches over 35 innings played across 11 hours and 26 minutes.

One of the most impressive numbers, however, was a small one: 0.90. That was the combined weekend ERA of the three starting pitchers who took the ball for the Bucs.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Locke eyes return to form as Reds come to town

Locke eyes return to form as Reds come to town

Tuesday's series opener between the Reds and Pirates at PNC Park will feature two pitchers coming off subpar outings. One's a newcomer, the other has logged more than 370 innings in his career.

Michael Lorenzen will make his second career start for the Reds on Tuesday, and the Bucs will counter with lefty Jeff Locke. Cincinnati swept Pittsburgh in early April at Great American Ball Park.

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Aimee Sachs is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs show infectious offense on road trip

Club provides evidence for 'hitting is contagious' theory, believes it can improve together

Bucs show infectious offense on road trip

ST. LOUIS -- One of baseball's time-worn beliefs holds that "hitting is contagious." It is a theory, and also an excuse, invoked by slumping clubs. And it is generally accepted -- but is it true?

You aren't going to get any proof, obviously. But there is some evidence, and the Pirates currently offer a scorebook full of it.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morton makes progress toward rejoining rotation

Right-hander feels good about sim game; club deciding on destination for rehab assignment

Morton makes progress toward rejoining rotation

ST. LOUIS -- Charlie Morton moved a step closer Saturday to rejoining the Pirates rotation with an extended outing in Pirate City.

Pitching a sim game at the club's training complex, Morton made 93 pitches in a six-inning workout he and Jim Benedict both were satisfied with.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Liriano not concerned about personal record

Pirates lefty exits with no-decision after throwing eight strong innings

Liriano not concerned about personal record

ST. LOUIS -- When things are not going your way, when you are consistently dealt unfair hands, the righteous act is to humbly shake it off. Well, as often as Pirates lefty Francisco Liriano is asked to do so, he may soon need a neck brace.

"The whole idea is to give the team a chance to win a ballgame," Liriano said late Saturday afternoon. "I was able to do that, so that feels great."

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates leave 18 men on in extra-inning loss

Pirates leave 18 men on in extra-inning loss

ST. LOUIS -- October baseball in early May? That's how it felt Saturday, when the Pirates and the Cardinals got into it for 11 more tense innings before Matt Carpenter's sacrifice fly off Jared Hughes with one out in the 11th gave St. Louis another 2-1 win. Their second consecutive extra-inning win over the Bucs by that score extended the Redbirds' winning streak to five.

Reverting to the last 2014 meeting of the teams, this was the Cardinals' third straight walk-off win over the Pirates, and fifth of their last eight home wins over Pittsburgh. The Pirates left 18 men on base -- 10 in scoring position -- and went 1-for-13 with RISP.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cutch's great defense made clear on Statcast

Cutch's great defense made clear on Statcast

Andrew McCutchen has battled a sore left knee all season, and he jammed that same knee Friday night while sliding into second base. He showed no ill effects in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Busch Stadium.

Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong hit a sinking liner to center field to lead off the third inning, and McCutchen made a sensational play to keep lefty Francisco Liriano's no-hitter alive.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cutch, Harrison back Liriano with fine defense

Cutch, Harrison back Liriano with fine defense

ST. LOUIS -- Francisco Liriano's no-hit bid Saturday during the Pirates' 2-1 loss to the Cardinals lasted into the sixth inning because of a pair of sparkling defensive plays behind him.

The Pirates lefty surrendered a sixth-inning leadoff single to Peter Bourjos -- the first hit he had allowed since a one-out single in the second inning of his last start, in which he went 6 1/3 innings.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bad spell at Busch not in Pirates' head

Bad spell at Busch not in Pirates' head

ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates face a lot of human obstacles to reach their goal of a division championship. Do they now also have a geographic opponent, Busch Stadium?

Since their last series win here on April 26-28, 2013, the Bucs have been parched under the Arch. Saturday's 2-1 loss in 11 innings was their 15th defeat in 18 games.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Burnett passes Koufax on all-time K's list

Burnett passes Koufax on all-time K's list

ST. LOUIS -- A.J. Burnett's frequently star-crossed career reached a striking crescendo Friday night, when he passed one of MLB's most storied pitchers in lifetime strikeouts.

Burnett tied Sandy Koufax for 42nd place on the all-time with his sixth whiff of the night -- of pitching adversary Lance Lynn in the fifth inning of the game with the Cardinals -- and passed him the next inning when Matt Holliday became career victim No. 2,397.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs left frustrated after leaving 'em loaded

Pirates can't cash in with bases loaded, no outs in sixth vs. Lynn, Cardinals

Bucs left frustrated after leaving 'em loaded

ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates gave Lance Lynn a hard push. The St. Louis right-hander shoved back even harder, with the apparent help of a little nudge from home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski.

Friday night's 2-1 walk-off loss in 10 innings to the Cardinals doesn't happen -- the 10th inning doesn't happen -- if the Bucs get something more than frustration out of a bases-loaded, none-out sixth-inning threat against Lynn.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Burnett can't do it alone as Bucs fall to Cards

Burnett can't do it alone as Bucs fall to Cards

ST. LOUIS -- On the night A.J. Burnett passed Sandy Koufax in career strikeouts, he and Lance Lynn recreated one of those fabulous Bob Gibson-Koufax pitching duels of the 1960s. The right-handers bequeathed a tie game to their respective bullpens, and Matt Adams' 10th-inning, two-out RBI single off Rob Scahill gave the Cardinals a 2-1 walk-off win over the Pirates on Friday in St. Louis in the season's first match between teams expected to fight it out for the National League Central title.

Matt Holliday had been issued an intentional walk by the right-handed Scahill to load the bases for the lefty-hitting Adams, who drilled a 1-1 pitch into left field for the winner.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morton to throw in sim game at Pirate City

Rehabbing righty aiming to throw 90 pitches in controlled environment

Morton to throw in sim game at Pirate City

ST. LOUIS -- Charlie Morton is on his way back to Pittsburgh -- not yet to pitch, but to consult with Pirates staff on how and when that can happen.

Morton, in the home stretch of recovering from his late-September labrum surgery, had his next rehab outing slightly altered. It will still take place on Saturday and still consist of seven "ups" or 90 pitches -- but instead of taking the mound for Class A Advanced Bradenton, he will throw in a sim game at Pirate City.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cole emerging as the Pirates' diamond ace

Former No. 1 overall Draft pick goes 4-0 to help lift Bucs to winning April

Cole emerging as the Pirates' diamond ace

CHICAGO -- One of the questions facing the Pirates this spring was whether -- or, more likely, when -- Gerrit Cole could turn his top-of-the-rotation potential into production. Would this be the year he took a step toward becoming an ace?

If the first month of the season is any indication, the answer is a resounding "Yes." In fact, Cole may have already taken that step.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clutch hits from Cutch, Kang carry Bucs over Cubs

Clutch hits from Cutch, Kang carry Bucs over Cubs

CHICAGO -- Right-hander Gerrit Cole allowed one unearned run in six innings and Andrew McCutchen hit a much-needed two-run triple to lead the Pirates to an 8-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

Pittsburgh held a one-run edge before tacking on four runs in the sixth, all coming with two outs. Jordy Mercer knocked an RBI single before McCutchen drilled a triple to center field, a hit that might have left the yard if not for the winds blowing in from the north that made the game-time temperature of 39 degrees feel like 32.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Glasnow dominates Erie in 7 K performance

Pirates No. 1 prospect allows 1 hit in 6 innings for Double-A Altoona

Glasnow dominates Erie in 7 K performance

Double-A Altoona's rotation has been outstanding this season, and its latest gem came from Pirates No. 1 prospect (No. 13 overall) Tyler Glasnow in a 2-0 win over Erie on Friday evening.

The 21-year-old righty tossed six shutout innings to drop his season ERA down to 0.79. Glasnow (2-0) has been virtually untouchable all season, and has yet to give up more than five hits or one run in a start.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Call him Mr. 1,000: Cutch collects milestone hit

Call him Mr. 1,000: Cutch collects milestone hit

CHICAGO -- This has been a mostly forgettable first month of the season for center fielder Andrew McCutchen. He reported to Wrigley Field on Wednesday batting just .179, one game away from the end of his worst month offensively since September 2011.

But the Pirates star finished April on a high note, with a memorable milestone, recording the 1,000th hit of his Major League career in Wednesday night's 8-1 win over the Cubs.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Given a start, Kang makes the most of opportunity

Given a start, Kang makes the most of opportunity

CHICAGO -- After putting together the best day of his young Major League career on Wednesday, third baseman Jung Ho Kang looked back with just one regret.

Kang went 3-for-4 with a walk, two RBIs and his first stolen base in the Majors in the Bucs' 8-1 win over the Cubs. He showed off his power potential by launching a 93-mph fastball about 380 feet to center field, bouncing it off the ivy-covered wall only a few inches short of his first big league home run.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Caminero thriving under Searage's tutelage

Righty the latest Bucs hurler to improve with help from pitching coach

Caminero thriving under Searage's tutelage

CHICAGO -- Arquimedes Caminero was never the second coming of Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn, the Charlie Sheen character in the movie "Major League." But while he wasn't spectacularly wild, his trouble consistently throwing strikes left him unable to ride his 100-mph heater to success.

Then Caminero caught a break. The Marlins designated him for assignment to make room for Ichiro Suzuki on the 40-man roster, and the Pirates pounced on him.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates need to work to stop opponents in their tracks

Pirates need to work to stop opponents in their tracks

CHICAGO -- Controlling the running game had been an issue for the Pirates, but the Cubs' five-steal performance on Tuesday turned it into a talking point for manager Clint Hurdle on Wednesday.

Four of the Cubs' five stolen bases in Tuesday's 6-2 win came in the fourth inning on a pair of double steals with Francisco Cervelli behind the plate.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cutch taking aim at 5th straight All-Star appearance

Cutch taking aim at 5th straight All-Star appearance

CHICAGO -- With eight everyday players locked in at their respective positions, there wasn't much mystery surrounding who would represent the Pirates on this year's All-Star Game ballot.

Andrew McCutchen, seeking his fifth straight Midsummer Classic appearance, headlines the group of eight Bucs appearing on the 2015 All-Star Game ballot, which was released Wednesday.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs to experiment with 'bundling' time for reserves

Bucs to experiment with 'bundling' time for reserves

CHICAGO -- Manager Clint Hurdle said earlier this month that the Pirates hoped to "bundle" playing time for their reserves, providing more consistent at-bats when players are brought off the bench.

So far the Pirates have stuck to a more traditional method of deploying their reserves, but Hurdle said on Wednesday that the concept could become more prevalent as the season progresses.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hurdle: Pirates didn't do much right in loss to Cubs

Hurdle: Pirates didn't do much right in loss to Cubs

CHICAGO -- When the Pirates reeled off five straight wins last week, they saw what their team looked like when things started clicking just the right way. If they weren't hitting, they were pitching well enough to make up for it, and vice versa.

In Tuesday's 6-2 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the Pirates got a glimpse of what their team looks like when nothing goes their way.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Locke struggles as Pirates drop second straight to Cubs

Locke struggles as Pirates drop second straight to Cubs

CHICAGO -- The Cubs are off and running.

Dexter Fowler had three hits and two RBIs to back Travis Wood and lead the Cubs to a 6-2 victory over the Pirates on Tuesday night, when Chicago scored all six of its runs with two outs.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.