Williams gets rematch with Giants in finale

Williams gets rematch with Giants in finale

The Giants wrap up a 10-game homestead, their longest of the season, on Wednesday with their series finale against the Pirates.

The Bucs will start Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74 ERA) before heading south to San Diego for another three-game set. Williams has made one career start against the Giants. Earlier this month, he spun six innings of two-run ball and was in line for a win before the Giants rallied late for a 5-3 victory.

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Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates rocked early in loss to Giants

Pirates rocked early in loss to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' offense refused to allow another Madison Bumgarner start to end in a loss. Behind a showering of offensive support, the Giants ace picked up his first win of the season Tuesday when the Giants routed the Pirates, 11-3. Bumgarner (1-4) spun five innings of one-run ball in his third start since returning from the disabled list after the All-Star break.

"It's nice to be on the board now, individually," Bumgarner said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about us winning games."

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Pirates on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Taillon has career-worst night vs. Giants

Taillon has career-worst night vs. Giants

Jameson Taillon called his start Tuesday night a "merry-go-round" for the Giants. Manager Clint Hurdle described it as a learning experience, typical for a second-year player in the Major Leagues.

From any perspective, it was a forgettable night for Taillon and the Pirates as they lost, 11-3, at AT&T Park. Taillon gave up a career-high 10 runs (nine earned) and did not record an out in the fourth inning. The right-hander's ERA climbed nearly a full run in one night, from 3.08 to 4.03.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Meadows remains atop Bucs' Top 30 Prospects

Meadows remains atop Bucs' Top 30 Prospects

PITTSBURGH -- With a handful of their top young players graduating from prospect status, the Pirates' Top 30 Prospects list looks different at midseason than it did this spring. But there is still talent in Pittsburgh's pipeline, from Triple-A Indianapolis down to the Gulf Coast League in Bradenton, Fla.

That much is reflected in MLB Pipeline's midseason reranking of baseball's Top 100 Prospects. The Pirates are represented by injured Triple-A outfielder Austin Meadows (No. 20), Class A Advanced Bradenton right-hander Mitch Keller (No. 22) and Rookie-level righty Shane Baz (No. 88), their first-round pick in last month's MLB Draft.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates' surge backs Cole's solid start

Pirates' surge backs Cole's solid start

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gerrit Cole worked six effective innings Monday night while the Pittsburgh Pirates put together big offensive outbursts early and late to emerge with their 10th victory in 13 games, a 10-3 decision over the San Francisco Giants.

"Everyone's showing up. Everyone's ready to go. Everyone's ready to win," said Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen. "That's been the feeling here for quite some time now. Hopefully we can just continue that."

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Pirates on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cutch, Mercer lead Pirates' offense vs. Giants

Cutch, Mercer lead Pirates' offense vs. Giants

Nearly everyone played a part in the Pirates' 10-3 win over the Giants on Monday night at AT&T Park, but a pair of big swings by Andrew McCutchen and Jordy Mercer defined the current depth of Pittsburgh's lineup.

From the young rotation to a more stable back end of the bullpen, improved pitching has been the key to the Pirates' recent surge. But with McCutchen producing in the heart of the lineup and Mercer contributing from the eight-hole, the Bucs are more dangerous from top to bottom.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates open to possible trade for outfielder

Pirates open to possible trade for outfielder

With right fielder Gregory Polanco sidelined by a strained left hamstring and the non-waiver Trade Deadline a week away, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said he will monitor the market to determine if there is "something appropriate" to bolster their outfield.

Polanco was placed on the disabled list Saturday with his second left hamstring injury of the season, once again leaving the Pirates without one of their three starting outfielders. During his weekly KDKA-FM radio show with Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown, Huntington classified Polanco's status as "week to week," not day to day, but didn't set a timeline for his return.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Cutch is Bucs' shining star once again

After slow start, drop in lineup, outfielder already has award-winning season

Cutch is Bucs' shining star once again

DENVER -- Andrew McCutchen is back on top of the baseball world. But it has been a challenge.

As the face of the Pirates' franchise, the past nine months have seen McCutchen faced with media speculation about him being traded, an initial decision that he moved from center field to right field and a season-opening two months that produced very un-McCutchen results.

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

Despite loss, Pirates see advantages ahead

Team plays 19 straight games against teams under .500

Despite loss, Pirates see advantages ahead

DENVER -- The Pirates came into Coors Field hot, having trimmed their deficit in the National League Central to three games and reaching .500 for the first time since April. Though they dropped two of three to the Rockies, falling 13-3 Sunday, the Pirates still left Colorado in excellent position for the coming weeks. 

The Brewers lost to the Phillies on Sunday, meaning the Pirates remain just three games back in the division. The momentum the Pirates built to cut that deficit from eight will be important, third baseman David Freese said, and they will be looking to continue playing at a similar high level.

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Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates shuffling OF spots with Polanco out

Pirates shuffling OF spots with Polanco out

DENVER -- Gregory Polanco's hamstring injury is giving a few Pirates the opportunity for more consistent playing time in the outfield.

Polanco strained his left hamstring in Friday's opening game against the Rockies and was replaced by John Jaso. On Saturday, the left-handed hitting Jaso was again in the starting lineup vs. righty pitcher German Marquez, but righty Jose Osuna started Sunday against Rockies' left-hander Kyle Freeland.

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Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nova struggles as Bucs drop finale to Rockies

Nova struggles as Bucs drop finale to Rockies

DENVER -- Riding another strong performance from rookie left-hander Kyle Freeland, and supplemented with an offensive outburst, the Rockies powered to a 13-3 victory on Sunday at Coors Field to clinch their first home series win over the Pirates since July 2014.

The Rockies batted through the order twice on Sunday, in the third and sixth innings, scattering homers from Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, pinch-hitting Pat Valaika and two from Mark Reynolds, while Nolan Arenado had three RBIs to pad his MLB lead to 86.

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Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Rockies on Sunday. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Pirates on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Just days after return, Marte in midseason form

Just days after return, Marte in midseason form

DENVER -- Starling Marte dribbled a ninth-inning fastball from Greg Holland just past the pitcher's mound. Using his signature speed, he sprinted down the line, earning the infield hit without a throw.

With the bases loaded, Marte had his third hit of the night, driving in the Pirates' final run in a 7-3 loss to the Rockies. Marte has played only five games since being reinstated from an 80-game PED suspension, but he has seemed to find a rhythm already, hitting .292 with three stolen bases and six runs.

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Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Pirates on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Benches clear at Coors Field after close pitch

Benches clear at Coors Field after close pitch

DENVER -- Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl apparently made his point Saturday night. And so did Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez.

And the incident -- which, like most baseball confrontations, included plenty of posturing and no punching -- was grounded in history, with reasons to beef from both starting pitchers and both teams. So even after the 7-3 Rockies victory at Coors Field on Saturday night, there is a degree of bad blood between the teams as they prepare to finish the three-game series Sunday afternoon.

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bell homers, but Bucs' win streak comes to end

Bell homers, but Bucs' win streak comes to end

DENVER -- Rookie right-hander German Marquez tied a career high with nine strikeouts -- and was hot under the collar, when necessary -- as the Rockies ended the Pirates' win streak at six games with a 7-3 victory Saturday night at Coors Field.

Marquez (8-4) used a curveball, slider and changeup that were sharp from the outset -- and his fastball topped out at 98.6 mph -- as he held the Pirates to three hits and two runs in seven innings. After two walks and a run in the first, he issued no more walks, and his only additional run was a solo homer by Josh Bell.

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Pirates on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamstring forces Polanco to DL; Brault recalled

Hamstring forces Polanco to DL; Brault recalled

DENVER -- Less than a week after the Pirates' starting outfield trio was back together following Starling Marte's reinstatement, Gregory Polanco has landed on the 10-day disabled list due to a left hamstring strain.

 

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Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Pirates on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs go over .500, beat Rox for 6th straight W

Bucs go over .500, beat Rox for 6th straight W

DENVER -- Pirates first baseman Josh Bell didn't waste time. His first two swings Friday night produced four runs. Otherwise, Bucs hitters forced Rockies rookie Jeff Hoffman into 82 excruciating pitches over three-plus innings, scoring seven runs in a 13-5 victory at Coors Field.

With their six-game winning streak, the Pirates are two games behind the National League Central-leading Brewers and are over .500 for the first time since April 10.

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Pirates on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Top of Bucs' lineup thrives in altitude at Coors

Pirates' Nos. 1-4 hitters combine for 10 hits, seven RBIs vs. Rockies

Top of Bucs' lineup thrives in altitude at Coors

DENVER -- The Pirates have found copious offensive success at Coors Field recently, and that trend continued in Friday's 13-5 win over the Rockies, largely thanks to the top of the Bucs' lineup.

Starling Marte, Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen entered the series opener with already-cartoonish stats in Colorado. But they boosted their numbers on Friday by combining to go 6-for-14 with nine runs scored and three RBIs. Throw in cleanup hitter Josh Bell's career high four hits and four RBIs and that goes up to 10-for-20 with 10 runs and seven RBIs.

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Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Pirates on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cole brought Cervelli oxygen after his triple

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Cole brought Cervelli oxygen after his triple

Catchers are sturdy creatures. They are good at squatting for long periods, while covered in heavy gear. They accept foul balls that bounce off any part of their body and shrug them off as if they were flies hitting the windshield. 

What they are not great at is legging out triples. Except, every now and then, it happens.

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Hudson, Watson settle into middle-relief roles

Hudson, Watson settle into middle-relief roles

DENVER -- When Felipe Rivero stepped into the closer's role, he didn't just solidify the back end of the Pirates' bullpen, but the front end, as well.

Tony Watson and Daniel Hudson -- the two veterans originally slated for the late innings -- have rebounded to their old selves since Rivero began dominating the ninth. Entering Friday, Watson owns a 2.08 ERA since the June 9 switch and Hudson has a 1.93 ERA, and they've both lowered their season-long marks nearly a full run.

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Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Pirates on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs sweep: Crew's Pitt stop shakes up race

Pirates 3 games behind 1st-place Brewers; Cubs in 2nd, 1 game back

Bucs sweep: Crew's Pitt stop shakes up race

PITTSBURGH -- While the Brewers came out of the All-Star break holding a solid lead in the National League Central, the Pirates faced a steep uphill climb. Less than a week later, the division's balance of power has shifted. Pittsburgh finished off a four-game sweep of Milwaukee on Thursday afternoon, crawling back to .500 with a 4-2 win at PNC Park.

The Brewers' 5 1/2-game lead in the NL Central standings has evaporated to just one game over the Cubs, who reeled off six straight wins to begin the second half. Trailing by seven games at the break, the Bucs have won a season-high five straight games -- and 11 of their last 13 -- to pull within three games of the Crew. For the first time since April 16, Pittsburgh does not have a losing record.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Brewers on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Central, hark! Here come red-hot Pirates

Bucs sweep 4-game set from Crew to improve to division-best 36-24 since May 13

Central, hark! Here come red-hot Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- Buyer? Seller? How about contender?

The Pirates woke up on July 4 nine games under .500, seven games out of first place in the National League Central. Since then, they've won 11 of 13 games, including Thursday's 4-2 victory over the Brewers at PNC Park, vaulting back to the break-even point and into a wide-open NL Central race.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freese honing swing, but eye hasn't faltered

Hurdle on third baseman's career-high OBP: 'I think it's a sign of maturity in a hitter'

Freese honing swing, but eye hasn't faltered

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' game-tying rally Wednesday night started innocently but impressively.

Facing All-Star closer Corey Knebel with one out in the ninth, David Freese fell behind in the count, one ball and two strikes. Knebel challenged Freese with a 98.9-mph fastball, which Freese took low for a ball. Then came two sharp curveballs. Freese followed the first one as it sailed away and outside the zone then took the full-count pitch, which dived under the zone for ball four.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bradenton's Keller forced out after six strong

Bradenton's Keller forced out after six strong

No organization currently features more high-end talent in its farm system than the White Sox. That was evident on Thursday, as a host of the South Siders' top prospects turned in big performances across three different levels.

Most notably, No. 8 overall prospect Eloy Jimenez (White Sox No. 2) went 3-for-5 with a solo home run and a pair of doubles for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. It was the 20-year-old outfielder's ninth home run this season and his first as a member of the White Sox after he was acquired from the Cubs last week in the Jose Quintana trade. No. 68 overall prospect Zack Collins (White Sox No. 7) also went deep for Winston-Salem, giving him 13 homers through 82 games in his first full season.

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

Bucs stay hot: Moroff's walk-off beats Brewers

Bucs stay hot: Moroff's walk-off beats Brewers

PITTSBURGH -- Throughout this turbulent season and this critical homestand, the Pirates have proven they can't be counted out. Down by a run after eight innings, the Bucs tied it in the ninth and rallied again in the 10th for their third walk-off win since the All-Star break and their 10th win in their last 12 games, a 3-2 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday at PNC Park.

After a pair of walk-offs last weekend against the Cardinals from Josh Bell and Adam Frazier, rookie infielder Max Moroff, who entered the game as a pinch-runner during the game-tying rally in the ninth, played the role of unlikely hero Wednesday night. Moroff's first career walk-off hit sealed a series win against the division-leading Brewers. The Bucs are one game under .500 for the first time since April 29 and within four games of Milwaukee in the wide-open division race.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Brewers on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cole looks like Bucs' ace with 10 K's vs. Crew

Right-hander allows one run over seven strong against NL Central leaders

Cole looks like Bucs' ace with 10 K's vs. Crew

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates are playing their best baseball of the season, winning 10 of their last 12 games and bouncing back into the National League Central race. Their ace may be rounding back into form, too.

Before the Pirates' late-inning heroics stole the show in a 3-2 win over the Brewers on Wednesday night at PNC Park, right-hander Gerrit Cole put together one of his best starts of the season. He struck out a season-high 10 batters without a walk, holding Milwaukee to one run on six hits over seven innings.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs' 'pen thriving with MLB's lowest July ERA

Bucs' 'pen thriving with MLB's lowest July ERA

PITTSBURGH -- After an inconsistent first half, the Pirates' bullpen has settled into place.

After a 3-2 walk-off win in extra innings over the Brewers, the Pirates own the Majors' second-best staff ERA in July, with their 2.71 mark trailing only the Dodgers' 2.17 ERA. Much of Pittsburgh's success on the mound is due to the bullpen, which leads all of baseball with a 1.75 ERA this month.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

HRs spark 4-run 6th as Bucs beat Brewers

HRs spark 4-run 6th as Bucs beat Brewers

PITTSBURGH -- Unable to mount any sort of offensive attack against Brewers starter Junior Guerra for five innings, the Pirates broke out in the sixth Tuesday night at PNC Park. Francisco Cervelli and Josh Harrison homered, leading the surging Bucs to a 4-3 win over the Brewers.

Pittsburgh has won nine of its last 11 games, pulling within five games of Milwaukee in the wide-open National League Central race. This was cast as a critical stretch for the Bucs, who may have to declare themselves as contenders before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Pirates got outfielder Starling Marte back on Tuesday night from suspension, and he went 1-for-3 with a single and walk.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Brewers on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marte appreciates fans' response in return

Pirates outfielder hit leadoff and went 1-for-3 against Brewers

Marte appreciates fans' response in return

PITTSBURGH -- It's a short run from the Pirates' dugout to left field at PNC Park. Starling Marte's first few steps Tuesday night were uncertain. Back from an 80-game suspension for using a banned performance-enhancing substance, Marte did not know how he would be received by the fans who once cheered for him unreservedly.

So when he approached his spot in left field, settling in for his first Major League game in more than three months, Marte was relieved to hear more cheers than jeers. Pleasant applause drowned out a handful of audible boos, but the welcome was particularly warm in his corner of the outfield.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCutchen's baby boy is due in December

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McCutchen's baby boy is due in December

Andrew McCutchen lives a good life. The five-time All-Star and former National League MVP married his wife Maria in November 2014 after a romantic proposal on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show." The couple also recently announced they would be expecting a new addition to their family in December. 

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