Bucs hit Marlins rookie hard, win 5th straight

Bucs hit Marlins rookie hard, win 5th straight

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates rode left-hander Jeff Locke's solid start and a two-out barrage to a 5-1 win over the Marlins on Tuesday night at PNC Park, the Bucs' fifth straight win.

The victory tied Pittsburgh's longest winning streak of the season and put the Pirates back over .500 on the year, at 23-22. Locke's pitch count quickly increased as he walked a season-high four batters, but he got through 5 2/3 scoreless innings and let the Bucs' bullpen take over from there.

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

Cutch earns honor as resurgence continues

Cutch earns honor as resurgence continues

PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen says he prioritizes team success and doesn't get caught up in his numbers or personal accolades, but there's little doubt that an effective McCutchen goes a long way for the Pirates.

So, after breaking out of a prolonged early-season slump, McCutchen has to feel he's better equipped to help the Pirates win games now than he was a few weeks ago, right?

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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.

Moreno, Wilson to represent Bucs at Draft

Moreno, Wilson to represent Bucs at Draft

Three members of the 500 Home Run Club -- Ken Griffey Jr., Reggie Jackson and Mike Schmidt -- and 20 other former All-Stars will headline the list of team representatives on the floor at MLB Network's Studio 42 when the 2015 MLB Draft gets underway on June 8.

MLB announced the annual list of club reps on Tuesday and it is clear that the 50th anniversary of the event will be celebrated in style on that first night of selections in Secaucus, N.J. Griffey, a likely first-ballot inductee next summer, will sit at the Mariners table in a room that includes current Hall of Famers including Jackson (Yankees table), Schmidt (Phillies), Tommy Lasorda (Dodgers), and Andre Dawson and Tony Perez (both Marlins).

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cervelli, Alvarez homer to back Morton's first win

Cervelli, Alvarez homer to back Morton's first win

PITTSBURGH -- Backed by a pair of home runs, right-hander Charlie Morton made an encouraging return to the rotation as the Pirates beat the Marlins, 4-2, on Monday night at PNC Park.

Morton began the season on the disabled list after working his way back from September hip surgery, but he looked like the same "Ground Chuck" who pitched to a 3.52 ERA for the Pirates in 2013-14. The 31-year-old right-hander induced 16 groundouts, holding the Marlins to two runs on eight hits over seven innings in his 2015 debut.

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

Morton looks like his old self in season debut

Morton looks like his old self in season debut

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates starter Charlie Morton knew his pitches were working during three Minor League rehab starts. He saw the results: a lot of ground balls and some swings and misses.

He knew he could get outs against big league hitters, too. The last step in his circuitous path back to the mound, after September hip surgery and recovery and an ugly spring and two mechanical overhauls, was proving he could.

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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.

Alvarez shows off deep opposite-field power

Alvarez shows off deep opposite-field power

PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Alvarez stood in front of his locker after the Pirates' 4-2 win over the Marlins on Monday night and searched for the right words to describe the ball he crushed out of the deepest part of PNC Park.

A locker away, shortstop Jordy Mercer provided a more concise summary: "That ball was crushed!"

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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.

Pirates designate pitcher Liz for assignment

Pirates designate pitcher Liz for assignment

PITTSBURGH -- With Charlie Morton rejoining the rotation Monday night and Vance Worley moved to the bullpen, the Pirates had to part ways with a pitcher.

They chose to designate right-hander Radhames Liz for assignment, comfortable with their bullpen depth and their complement of long relievers.

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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.

Marte brings unique dynamic to cleanup spot

Marte brings unique dynamic to cleanup spot

PITTSBURGH -- Starling Marte didn't look much like a traditional cleanup hitter in the fifth inning Sunday afternoon. With the bases clear and Mets lefty Jon Niese on the mound, he dropped down a bunt and sped down the line, unable to beat out the throw to first.

But he looked the part in the sixth inning. With first base open, the Mets intentionally walked the red-hot Andrew McCutchen. Up came Marte, who swung at the first pitch and ripped it into the first row of the left-field seats for a three-run homer.

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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.

Liriano caps historic stretch for Pirates' rotation

Bucs get three straight double-digit K games from starters for first time since 1969

Liriano caps historic stretch for Pirates' rotation

PITTSBURGH -- When his pitchers are piling up strikeouts, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle likes to say they're just playing catch. There might as well be nobody else on the field -- just the pitcher and catcher, throwing the ball back and forth as opposing hitters walk to and from the dugout.

This weekend, the Pirates swept the Mets behind three pretty good games of catch.

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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 warming up after big series vs. Mets

Pirates center fielder goes 6-for-10 with two home runs, four RBIs

Cutch warming up after big series vs. Mets

PITTSBURGH -- With a homer off Mets ace Matt Harvey on Saturday and another in Sunday afternoon's 9-1 victory, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is in a groove.

"I feel horrible," McCutchen joked, then paused. "Nah, I feel good. I just want to keep on going."

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Liriano whiffs 12 as Pirates sweep away Mets

Liriano whiffs 12 as Pirates sweep away Mets

PITTSBURGH -- Left-hander Francisco Liriano bounced back from his worst start of the season, completing a trio of dominant starting-pitching performances as the Pirates swept the Mets with a 9-1 win at PNC Park on Sunday.

Picking up where Gerrit Cole and A.J. Burnett left off, Liriano racked up 12 strikeouts, the most for any Pirates pitcher this season, and held the Mets to one run over six innings. It was a return to form for the Bucs' Opening Day starter, who allowed seven runs in two innings on Tuesday against the Twins.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kang's emergence gives Bucs defensive versatility

Kang's emergence gives Bucs defensive versatility

PITTSBURGH -- During Spring Training, the Pirates set a few smaller goals that, they believed, would help push them toward their ultimate goal of getting back to the postseason.

They wanted to add depth, become a more versatile team and keep their stars fresh enough to stay productive throughout a long, grueling season.

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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.

Bastardo struggling, but still an important piece

Bastardo struggling, but still an important piece

PITTSBURGH -- With a home run surrendered in each of his last two appearances entering Sunday, Pirates reliever Antonio Bastardo hasn't been precise recently, and it's not going unnoticed.

Bastardo, who Pittsburgh acquired in a trade from the Phillies in December, hasn't been the normally reliable left-hander he was in Philadelphia. After serving up the game-winning homer in Wednesday's 13-inning loss to the Twins, Bastardo allowed another on Saturday in cleanup duty in the Pirates' 8-2 win over the Mets.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

ASG debate: McCutchen or Marte in NL OF?

Both Pirates are worthy of All-Star consideration

ASG debate: McCutchen or Marte in NL OF?

*** We will be doing daily ASG debates until balloting ends on July 2. We will frequently be pitting one player against another and have a writer make a case for one of them, but that doesn't mean there aren't other great candidates for that position. In fact, your comments could spark a new debate for us to tackle. So let us know what you think! ***

The most difficult All-Star ballot decisions often come down to established commodities vs. hot hands. These choices are all the more interesting when they involve two guys on the same team. Or more directly, in the same outfield.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Burnett authoring quite the swan song with Pirates

Right-hander leads the Majors with a 1.37 ERA in final season

Burnett authoring quite the swan song with Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- A.J. Burnett walked off the mound at PNC Park after the seventh inning, striding slowly from the third-base line toward the Pirates' dugout with his glove in his right hand. He quickly raised it above his head, fist-bumped catcher Francisco Cervelli and hugged manager Clint Hurdle.

Burnett is enjoying his time back in Pittsburgh, and it's showing on the mound.

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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.

Pirates execute game plan perfectly vs. Harvey

Pirates execute game plan perfectly vs. Harvey

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had a simple plan for his hitters taking on Mets ace Matt Harvey: look for good early pitches to hit, then work the pitch count.

It's a sound concept, sure. But against one of the league's dominant aces, it's easier said than done.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Burnett cruises as Bucs bash around Harvey

Burnett cruises as Bucs bash around Harvey

PITTSBURGH -- Saturday's game at PNC Park was billed as a pitchers' duel, a showdown between Mets ace Matt Harvey and veteran A.J. Burnett. But the Pirates quickly turned it into the worst start of Harvey's young career, running away with an 8-2 win over the Mets.

Burnett, meanwhile, continued to show no signs of slowing down in what he's said will be the final season of his career. The 38-year-old right-hander struck out 10 and improved to 4-1 with a Major League-best 1.37 ERA with his ninth straight start allowing two runs or fewer.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cole proves how tough it is to notch a CG

Cole proves how tough it is to notch a CG

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole showed Friday night how hard it is to finish off a complete game.

He was efficient with his pitches. Only five of the 29 batters he faced saw more than five pitches in a plate appearance. The only walk he issued was to the last hitter he faced.

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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.

Cole nearly goes distance, fans 10 Mets

Cole nearly goes distance, fans 10 Mets

PITTSBURGH -- Gerrit Cole emerged victorious in a battle of electric young right arms Friday night, outdueling Noah Syndergaard and looking like one of the National League's top pitchers as the Pirates beat the Mets, 4-1, at PNC Park.

"It's the best performance I've seen him throw so far," Pirates catcher Chris Stewart said. "He just keeps getting better and better. The sky's the limit for him right now."

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Just shy of complete game, Cole in complete control

Catcher Stewart, manager Hurdle praise young righty for career-best 8 1/3-inning effort

Just shy of complete game, Cole in complete control

PITTSBURGH -- Even if Gerrit Cole had not walked Eric Campbell on a full-count fastball with one out in the ninth inning, there's no guarantee he would have completed Friday night's 4-1 win over the Mets.

Even if Campbell had swung and missed for Cole's 11th strikeout or grounded into an easy out, it would have been a tough decision for Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. Cole is a key piece of the Bucs' present and their future, went to the disabled list twice last season and taxed his right arm with 111 pitches vs. New York.

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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.

Awkward slide doesn't diminish Kang's impact

Awkward slide doesn't diminish Kang's impact

PITTSBURGH -- Beating the throw wasn't an issue. But sticking the landing was.

On a high fly ball along the left-field line in the sixth inning of Friday night's 4-1 win over the Mets, Pirates shortstop Jung Ho Kang readied himself to tag up at third base and make a dash for the plate.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCutchen's paystub posted online

McCutchen's paystub posted online

PITTSBURGH -- The Internet got a closer look into Andrew McCutchen's personal finances Thursday, when a picture of his paystub was posted to Reddit.com and a redacted version was posted on the sports blog Deadspin.

The picture reveals the details of the most recent deposit into McCutchen's bank account. The Pirates outfielder said the stub was left behind in the visitor's clubhouse at Wrigley Field in Chicago, but he didn't remember how he lost track of it.

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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 ready to dig out of another early hole

After bouncing back from rough start in 2014, Pirates know what lies ahead

Bucs ready to dig out of another early hole

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates entered this season no longer satisfied with the thought of being a Wild Card team. They set their sights higher, then stumbled out of the gate too long to simply write it off as a slow start.

If the narrative sounds familiar, that's because it played out almost the same way last year. Except the Pirates were technically in worse shape then, having carried a 17-23 record through their first 40 games.

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

Pirates hope fortunes in close games can change

Pirates hope fortunes in close games can change

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates played out an unfortunately familiar script for 13 innings Wednesday night at PNC Park.

They fell behind. They battled back. They pitched well. And they lost, this time to the Twins by one run, 4-3.

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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, bullpen have big night despite loss

Locke, bullpen have big night despite loss

PITTSBURGH -- After a leadoff double by Danny Santana and a single by Joe Mauer, Pirates starter Jeff Locke walked third baseman Trevor Plouffe to load the bases in the top of the first of Wednesday night's game against the Twins.

Then, Torii Hunter unloaded them with a three-run double.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates rally, but fall short in 13 innings to Twins

Pirates rally, but fall short in 13 innings to Twins

PITTSBURGH -- Joe Mauer picked the right moment for his first home run of the season, ripping a solo shot to right field in the 13th inning and sending the Twins to a 4-3 win over the Pirates at PNC Park on Wednesday night.

The Twins jumped out to a three-run lead in the first but let the Pirates creep back into the game before trading zeros for three extra frames. Mauer finally broke through against Pirates lefty Antonio Bastardo, lining an 0-1 pitch into the right-field stands, his first homer since Aug. 17.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.