Polanco stays positive through growing pains

After bursting onto scene as a rookie, outfielder adjusting through struggles

Polanco stays positive through growing pains

PITTSBURGH -- At the plate with two outs in the eighth inning Wednesday at PNC Park, Gregory Polanco's powerful, looping left-handed swing connected with an 84 mph slider from Marlins reliever Vin Mazzaro and sent the ball crashing high off the Clemente Wall in right field.

After jogging toward first, Polanco broke into a long-striding sprint and sailed into third base for an easy standup triple -- the first of his career.

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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.

Rally vs. Marlins 'pen lifts Bucs to 6th straight

Rally vs. Marlins 'pen lifts Bucs to 6th straight

PITTSBURGH -- Led by another strong start from Gerrit Cole, the Pirates rallied to score five runs with two outs in the seventh inning and beat the Marlins, 5-2, on Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park.

The Pirates have won a season-high six straight games, completing back-to-back sweeps against the Mets and Marlins. It's their longest winning streak since June 20-30, 2013.

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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.

Burnett set to continue renaissance in San Diego

Burnett set to continue renaissance in San Diego

The Pirates and Padres will kick off a four-game series at Petco Park on Thursday night, with resurgent right-hander A.J. Burnett set to oppose fellow veteran Ian Kennedy.

Burnett enters the 10th start of what he's said will be his final season carrying a 1.37 ERA for the Pirates. He has won each of his last four starts, including a 10-strikeout performance on Saturday, after going 0-1 with a 1.45 ERA in his first five.

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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.

Kingham undergoes Tommy John surgery

No. 6-ranked Pirates prospect made six starts in Triple-A before elbow injury

Kingham undergoes Tommy John surgery

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates pitching prospect Nick Kingham underwent Tommy John elbow surgery on Wednesday.

Kingham, the Bucs' No. 6 prospect and No. 68 overall according to MLBPipeline.com, left his start for Triple-A Indianapolis on May 6 due to right elbow soreness. He was initially diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and the diagnosis was confirmed Tuesday by Dr. David Altcheck, who performed the operation in 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.

Alvarez, Marte go against the grain to help Bucs

Left-handed hitter delivers to opposite field, while free swinger draws bases-loaded walk

Alvarez, Marte go against the grain to help Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- Looking back on the state of his team six days ago, manager Clint Hurdle described the Pirates as the "definition of insanity." They believed in their talent, but the process and results were too often the same. And so the Pirates sat at 18-22.

"If you want more, you've got to do more," Hurdle said after Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Marlins, the Pirates' sixth straight. "The last six games, they've done more."

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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.

McCutchen 11th in NL outfield on ballot update

McCutchen 11th in NL outfield on ballot update

PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen was the Pirates' lone representative in the first National League update to the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, released Wednesday afternoon.

McCutchen received 339,566 votes from fans, putting him 11th among all NL outfielders. Nationals slugger Bryce Harper ranks first among outfielders and leads the NL with 1,116,582 votes.

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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 racks up another win with efficiency

Righty doesn't walk batter, denies Marlins opportunities for run-scoring rallies

Cole racks up another win with efficiency

PITTSBURGH -- As dominant as Gerrit Cole has been so far this season, what impressed Pirates manager Clint Hurdle the most on Wednesday was the young right-hander's efficiency.

Cole breezed through seven innings on 81 pitches, scattering seven hits and striking out seven. He didn't walk a batter. Both runs he allowed in Pittsburgh's 5-2 win over Miami at PNC Park came on solo home runs.

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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 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, 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.

Locke caps memorable Bucs rotation turn

Locke caps memorable Bucs rotation turn

PITTSBURGH -- It's impossible to quantify the effect one night's starting pitcher might have on the next's. But for the Pirates' staff, momentum is a real thing.

The last turn through their rotation, it's been a very good thing, too. Left-hander Jeff Locke completed a dominant one-through-five performance for the Bucs' rotation on Tuesday night, overcoming four walks to hold the Marlins scoreless for 5 2/3 innings as the Pirates won their fifth straight game, 5-1.

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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.TV unveils new Web-based media player

MLB.TV unveils new Web-based media player

Today's schedule starts with a White Sox-Orioles doubleheader that makes up the games that were postponed last month in Baltimore, and then a Corey Kluber-vs.-Nelson Cruz matchup that headlines six more games to follow. Along the way, you are about to have another one of those MLB.TV moments that make you realize how far we have come since the first live video broadcast stream by a major sports league in 2002.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media is introducing its new Web-based media player (version 5.0), for those who currently subscribe or those who sign up now for MLB.TV Premium ($114.99 a year or $24.99 a month) or regular MLB.TV ($94.99/$19.99). You'll notice the difference right away as the HD media player has an in-page layout, so it all happens in your browser with no need for an additional download.

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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.

Not trying to do too much, Bucs' hitters thriving

Not trying to do too much, Bucs' hitters thriving

PITTSBURGH -- With a full count and two outs in the fifth inning Tuesday night, Marlins starter Jose Urena fired a 93-mph fastball to the outer half of the plate. Pedro Alvarez reached out and grounded it through the left side of the infield, and Starling Marte wheeled around third base to score.

It was an encouraging sign for Alvarez, able to beat the shift and drive in a run. But it was also emblematic of the Pirates' approach in their 5-1 win over the Marlins at PNC Park -- and the attitude that's helped their lineup churn out runs during their five-game winning streak.

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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 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.