PITTSBURGH -- Back during Gerrit Cole's 2013 Major League infancy, before he'd established any discernible identity (aside from the celebrity of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft), just to clue in the sort of pitcher they were talking about, some journalists referred to him as "Gerrit Verlander." You know, comfortably in the mid-90s and able to dial it up to triple digits when needed in the later innings.
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates entered the seventh inning down by two runs with the heart of the order coming up against Braves lefty Alex Wood, who'd been all but unhittable in Sunday afternoon's 2-1 loss at PNC Park. Francisco Cervelli formulated a plan in his mind as the inning unfolded.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
After missing his last scheduled start, Justin Verlander will return to the mound Tuesday night as the Tigers begin a three-game series against Gerrit Cole and the Pirates at Comerica Park.
Verlander threw a bullpen session Saturday after skipping his last outing due to a stiff back. The right-hander also missed the first 2 1/2 months of the season with a triceps strain, limiting him to only two starts, during which he's allowed eight runs in 11 2/3 innings.
Bucs wade through rain, Cutch injury to beat Braves
By Mark Bowman and Tom Singer
PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Alvarez has only been along the ride for most of the first half of the season, but he may be ready to give the Pirates a lift. Alvarez's two-run double triggered a five-run first on Saturday and the Bucs went on to an 8-4 win over Atlanta at rain-soaked PNC Park.
PITTSBURGH -- As the expression goes, some Pirates might have been thinking between rain delays on Saturday at PNC Park, "I'd stand on my head to help us win." Starling Marte actually did it, though. He provided the lighter side of the Bucs' 8-4 win over Atlanta with a seventh-inning slide that didn't quite go as designed.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog
Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter
@Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
PITTSBURGH -- After recording only two outs in a disastrous outing last time out, Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton did his best to eat up innings in the Pirates' 8-4 win Saturday at PNC Park. But he saved a special bite for Deolis Guerra.
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 flips over head while sliding into second base
By Chris Landers |
You're probably thinking, "That's odd, I assumed that sliding into second base was a fairly simple endeavor, and one that wasn't open to much interpretation." Sure, you could go feet-first or head-first, depending on the situation or personal preference, but that would just be reinforcing the status quo sliding paradigm, man.
Instead, may we all follow the example of Pirates left fielder Starling Marte, baserunning visionary and proprietor of the finest partays, who turned his attempted steal of second during Saturday's game against the Braves into an opportunity to ... play leap-frog with himself, or something.
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has seen a lot during his time as a player, coach and manager. But the fourth inning of Pittsburgh's 3-2 win over Atlanta on Friday night presented something entirely new to Hurdle.
PITTSBURGH -- Stop us if you have heard this one before: Jordy Mercer lifted the Pirates' spirits and their winning percentage in Friday night's 3-2 win over the Braves with a 10th-inning walk-off RBI double, his third hit of the game and sixth hit of a week that has seen his average reach .225 after being at .192 entering June.
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano had just walked the bases loaded, then walked the Braves' No. 8 hitter, Ryan Lavarnway. It was only the second inning, but Liriano looked like he might be losing control of the game.
PITTSBURGH -- One of the most valuable, if also most overlooked, members of the Pirates' 2013 playoff pitching staff was Jeanmar Gomez, who filled all of his roles well. As the long man in the bullpen, Gomez went 2-0 in 26 games with a .235 opponents average. In his spot starts, the Bucs went 8-0.
PITTSBURGH -- After giving up a go-ahead home run to Brandon Phillips in the 13th inning on Thursday, Rob Scahill's night got a little worse. The reliever's right forearm began to tighten up, an injury he's never dealt with before.
PITTSBURGH -- The "6.0" next to A.J. Burnett's name in the boxscore should have been a good sign for an overworked Pirates bullpen. The veteran right-hander battled through a few long innings, but hung around for most of Thursday night.
Problem was, Thursday night turned into Friday morning with the score still tied at PNC Park. And once again, the Bucs' relief corps wound up working overtime in a 5-4 loss to the Reds.
Second baseman doubled off in 12th, stopping key rally
By John McGonigal
PITTSBURGH -- It was a slip Pirates fans aren't accustomed to seeing out of seven-year veteran Neil Walker.
But in a 13-inning contest that highlighted any and every detail, Walker's unfortunate break to second base was another missed opportunity PNC Park fans will remember in a 5-4 loss to the Reds on Thursday night.
PITTSBURGH -- About half an hour after their Thursday night game gave way to Friday morning, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips ripped a solo home run to left field off Pirates reliever Rob Scahill, leading Cincinnati to a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh at PNC Park.
PITTSBURGH -- The season has not yet reached the All-Star break. The halfway mark lies more than a week away. Yet Pittsburgh is diligently monitoring the standings and watching the out-of-town scoreboard on a daily basis.
PITTSBURGH -- Like any other starting pitcher, Gerrit Cole prides himself on pitching deep into games. He's done so effectively throughout the course of his young career, battling through long innings and virtually always finishing at least five innings.
Polanco forcing challenges by popping off bases; club seeking more conservative approach
By John McGonigal
PITTSBURGH -- Gregory Polanco has been at the center of three replay challenges initiated by the Reds on his slides into second base during this series -- two of them were overturned Tuesday night, and he got one to go his way in the Pirates' 5-2 loss Wednesday.