Bucs climb out of early hole to thump Twins

Bucs climb out of early hole to thump Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Andrew McCutchen had three RBIs, including a two-run homer, to back left-hander Francisco Liriano against his former team in a 10-4 win for the Pirates over the Twins on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.

McCutchen came up big for Pittsburgh, crushing a game-tying two-run blast in the fifth before coming through with another big hit as part of a five-run sixth. With two runners on, McCutchen smacked a liner to right that Eddie Rosario couldn't handle, and he ended up scoring on the play due to interference from third baseman Eduardo Nunez.

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

Hughes adept at making baserunners disappear

Bucs reliever escapes bases-loaded jam; Kang continues sustained surge

Hughes adept at making baserunners disappear

MINNEAPOLIS -- Matchup relief pitchers are commonplace in baseball. Specialists abound. When a game-changing left-handed hitter comes up, you go get your southpaw. When the bases are loaded, the Pirates go get Jared Hughes.

"I've been going to this man like he's a Swiss Army Knife," manager Clint Hurdle said Wednesday afternoon, after Hughes had whittled another opposition hope down to nothing in the Bucs' eventual 10-4 win over the Twins at Target Field.

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

Polanco day to day with left knee discomfort

Polanco day to day with left knee discomfort

MINNEAPOLIS -- Hot-hitting Gregory Polanco had to be removed in the middle of Wednesday afternoon's 10-4 win over the Twins, complaining of "discomfort in the left knee."

Polanco has been icing the knee after games for a while now, but he had not previously had to leave a game due to discomfort in the joint.

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

Bucs promote top prospect Glasnow to Triple-A

Bucs promote top prospect Glasnow to Triple-A

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tyler Glasnow, the Bucs' No. 1 prospect, has been promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis, keeping him on schedule to join the Pirates' 2016 rotation.

Three weeks shy of his 22nd birthday, the 6-foot-8 right-hander joins Indianapolis after a particularly dominant stretch with Double-A Altoona. In five July starts for the Curve, he posted a 2.40 ERA while racking up 46 strikeouts and just seven walks in 30 innings.

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

Bucs, Reds to renew acquaintances in Cincinnati

Bucs, Reds to renew acquaintances in Cincinnati

The Pirates and the Reds, for a change on opposite ends of the National League Central standings, begin an intriguing four-game series Thursday night at Great American Ball Park. As division peers, Cincinnati often spoiled things for the Bucs. Now Cincy manager Bryan Price's shuffled crew can really play the part of spoiler.

Stepping into the rotation spot vacated by Johnny Cueto's deal to Kansas City, lefty David Holmberg will make his first Major League start of the season, opposite Pittsburgh veteran A.J. Burnett. Holmberg represents the weekend's first test for the Pirates, who have had mixed success this season when seeing a starter for the first time. The Bucs will deal with the same situation on Saturday, against righty Raisel Iglesias.

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

Kang continues to thrive in key spots

Pirates shortstop delivers tiebreaking HR in ninth

Kang continues to thrive in key spots

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jung Ho Kang was glad he connected for one of those ultimate home runs, with two outs in the ninth inning of a tie ballgame. He just wished he didn't have to do it.

"I wish our games were easier," Kang said after the Pirates' 8-7 victory over the Twins that was anything but. "But I do always enjoy situations like that. When I hit it, I knew [it was gone]."

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

Kang's late HR lifts Bucs to wild win

Kang's late HR lifts Bucs to wild win

MINNEAPOLIS -- After the Twins rallied to tie the game with four runs in the eighth inning, Jung Ho Kang delivered a go-ahead solo homer off closer Glen Perkins in the ninth to lift the Pirates to an 8-7 win Tuesday night at Target Field.

Kang's game-winning blast came on a 1-2 slider from Perkins, who left the pitch up in the zone. It was another rough outing for Minnesota's All-Star closer, who has blown two saves with a 14.73 ERA since the All-Star break.

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

Bucs may boost middle relief via trade

Reliable Watson endures rare hiccup in win over Twins

Bucs may boost middle relief via trade

MINNEAPOLIS - The starters' picture is solid. Not only do the Pirates' starting pitchers rate high with their 42 wins and 3.26 ERA, but there are ample next-man-up candidates on the Triple-A level. The bullpen's end is even stouter. When Tony Watson and Mark Melancon have worked back-to-back to close it out, the Bucs are 23-3.

Although, admittedly, the latest entry in that log Tuesday night was somewhat bizarre, as Watson reeled through arguably the worst outing of his career to bring the Twins back into a game the Bucs would eventually bag, 8-7.

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

Morton named Bob Feller Act of Valor Award nominee

Morton named Bob Feller Act of Valor Award nominee

The active Major League players and Hall of Famers nominated for the 2015 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award were revealed Tuesday.

The award, now in its third year, honors the legacy of Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, who became the first professional athlete to enlist in the U.S. military after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. A current MLB player, a Hall of Famer and a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer are recognized each Veterans Day in a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ramirez's career comes full circle with Pirates

Third baseman hopes to add World Series experience to resume

Ramirez's career comes full circle with Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- Aramis Ramirez has come a long way since he last played for the Pirates. He was 25 years old when the Bucs traded him to the Cubs -- just entering the prime of a career that lasted 18 seasons.

Twelve years later, Ramirez was traded back to Pittsburgh, where he'll play the final months of his career. And the veteran third baseman was quick to point out that the Pirates have also come a long way since Ramirez last called PNC Park home.

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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

Anthony Castrovince

Cole part of 25-and-unders who are dominating

Cole part of 25-and-unders who are dominating

If we had to pinpoint the one theme of this 2015 season that stands out above all others, it's unquestionably the dominating impact and the infusion of youth on the Major League scene. Never was this more evident than on Monday night when 23-year-old Cubs rookie Kris Bryant cracked his first career walk-off homer into the Wrigley Field bleachers to give the Cubs a dramatic 9-8 win against the Rockies.

And just an hour or so before Bryant's blast landed, the mere suggestion that the Dodgers might consider trading 24-year-old Yasiel Puig turned social media upside down.

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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.

Cole outduels Ross to pick up MLB-best 14th win

Cole outduels Ross to pick up MLB-best 14th win

PITTSBURGH -- All-Star right-hander Gerrit Cole picked up his Major League-leading 14th win of the season, as the Pirates beat the Nationals, 3-1, at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon.

A day after the Nationals pounded out nine runs on 14 hits, Cole limited Washington to one run on seven hits while striking out eight over 7 2/3 innings. He lowered his ERA to 2.24, the third-lowest mark in the National League.

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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.

Focus a big key to Cole's success on the mound

Focus a big key to Cole's success on the mound

PITTSBURGH -- It was on Friday night when Gerrit Cole started to get amped up for his Sunday start. He's locked in and focused every time he takes the mound, but he particularly enjoys the opportunity to set the tone at the start of a series and the chance to finish one off.

Cole got that chance on Sunday afternoon against the Nationals and capitalized. He allowed one run over 7 2/3 innings, as the Pirates capped off a four-game series victory with a 3-1 win at PNC Park.

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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.

S-Rod's 'D' helps Bucs short circuit Nats' rally

S-Rod's 'D' helps Bucs short circuit Nats' rally

PITTSBURGH -- Sean Rodriguez has developed a routine on days he doesn't start. He'll do anything he can to stay loose, he said, "So when it comes to a game, it's just reaction."

Rodriguez's natural instincts and quick reflexes were on full display during the eighth inning of the Pirates' 3-1 win over the Nationals on Sunday at PNC Park. Rodriguez made a sharp stop and a quick turn at first base on a ground ball hit by Bryce Harper to strand two runners and end the eighth inning.

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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.

Huntington open to adding players before Deadline

Huntington open to adding players before Deadline

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates addressed their only glaring weakness a week before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, acquiring Aramis Ramirez on Thursday to help solidify the left side of their infield after a pair of injuries.

But that doesn't necessarily mean the Pirates will remain quiet over the next five days leading up to the Deadline. General manager Neal Huntington said Pittsburgh would still like to add to the club before Sunday's 3-1 win over the Nationals.

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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.

Aramis thrilled to come full circle

Veteran Bucs 3B goes 0-for-4 in return to original club

Aramis thrilled to come full circle

PITTSBURGH -- Aramis Ramirez is officially back with the Pirates.

Acquired Thursday in a trade with the Brewers, Ramirez joined the active roster Saturday afternoon. The Bucs immediately plugged Ramirez into the starting lineup in Saturday night's 9-3 loss to the Nationals at PNC Park, giving him the start at third base, batting cleanup.

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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.

Since break, Burnett has been off

After rough outing, All-Star points to lack of execution

Since break, Burnett has been off

PITTSBURGH -- A.J. Burnett defied all sorts of expectations with his first-half success. He was named to his first All-Star team. He carried a 2.11 ERA into the break. And as a result, he may have created unreasonably high expectations heading into the second half.

After a shaky six-inning outing in Kansas City on Monday, Burnett allowed five runs on 11 hits over 5 2/3 innings Saturday night as the Pirates lost to the Nationals, 9-3, at PNC Park.

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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.

Burnett can't find groove as Bucs fall to Nats

Burnett can't find groove as Bucs fall to Nats

PITTSBURGH -- After dropping back-to-back games, the Nationals rebounded in a big way Saturday night at PNC Park, piling up 14 hits as they beat the Pirates, 9-3.

Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor led the way, going 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, three RBIs and a stolen base atop Washington's lineup. Yunel Escobar added three hits and Ian Desmond went deep for the third time in as many games. Aside from Anthony Rendon, everyone in Washington's starting lineup recorded at least one hit, and Rendon lifted a sacrifice fly in his return from the disabled list.

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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.

Alvarez tags Scherzer with Allegheny blast

Reaching river for fourth time, Pirates slugger goes deep for second straight game

Alvarez tags Scherzer with Allegheny blast

PITTSBURGH -- Before Thursday's game, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle recalled a recent conversation with Pedro Alvarez. The Bucs have been trying to get their first baseman back "in the productive place that we've seen him," Hurdle said, even as his name continues to pop up in trade rumors.

Alvarez has been back in that productive place the last two days. A night after homering to left field, Alvarez launched a two-run shot off Nationals ace Max Scherzer all the way out of PNC Park in right-center on Friday and bounced it into the Allegheny River, giving the Pirates a lead in the second inning en route to a 7-5 win.

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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.

Polanco caps battle vs. Scherzer with homer

Pirates outfielder grinds Nats ace down in 12-pitch AB; Walker follows with own shot

Polanco caps battle vs. Scherzer with homer

PITTSBURGH -- After striking out in his first two at-bats Friday night against Max Scherzer, Gregory Polanco knew he had to make an adjustment at the plate.

His swing felt too long to catch up to Scherzer's electric fastball. He had to shorten his swing, protect the strike zone and find a way to get the barrel to the ball. He did just that in the fifth inning, capping off a 12-pitch at-bat with a two-run homer to right-center field in the Pirates' 7-5 win over the Nationals at PNC Park.

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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 muscle past Nationals in slugfest

Pirates muscle past Nationals in slugfest

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates clubbed three home runs off Max Scherzer and rallied for two more runs in the sixth inning as they beat the Nationals, 7-5, on Friday night at PNC Park.

Scherzer no-hit the Pirates at Nationals Park on June 20, but Pittsburgh struck quickly this time. Pedro Alvarez homered in the second, and Gregory Polanco and Neil Walker hit back-to-back shots in the fifth. One out from a perfect game the last time he faced the Bucs, Scherzer left after allowing five runs in five innings.

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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.

Alvarez hits homer out of PNC Park and into river

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Alvarez hits homer out of PNC Park and into river

In May, we brought you a disturbing report from Pittsburgh that Baseball Pirate Pedro Alvarez had become Actual Pirate Pedro Alvarez, terrorizing the waters of Western Pennsylvania with his dinger onslaught and even commandeering a vessel for his plundering. 

Sadly, it appears that Alvarez's reign of terror has proceeded unabated in the months since. The man they call El Toro was at it again on Friday night, launching another cannonball across the bow and into the Allegheny -- and this time, he's brought a kayak army with him.

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Cervelli moved by All-Star gift from Burnett

Pirates veteran gives batting practice jersey to batterymate, who fell short of Midsummer Classic

Cervelli moved by All-Star gift from Burnett

PITTSBURGH -- Francisco Cervelli certainly earned consideration for a spot in last week's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile. He finished third among National League catchers in the fan voting, and his first-half numbers ranked up there with the best backstops in the NL.

Cervelli didn't wind up making it to Cincinnati. But he did get an All-Star jersey, thanks to Pirates starter A.J. Burnett.

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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.

Caminero looking to readjust to dialed-in bats

Hart to take time off, begin Minors rehab stint to stay healthy down stretch

Caminero looking to readjust to dialed-in bats

PITTSBURGH -- A month ago, Arquimedes Caminero was mowing down hitters with his 100-mph fastball and helping bridge the gap to Pirates setup man Tony Watson and closer Mark Melancon.

But the last month has been a reminder that it takes more than a triple-digit reading on the radar gun to get Major League hitters out. The flamethrowing reliever has given up 21 hits in 11 innings while recording an 8.18 ERA over his last 13 games as he attempts to iron out some mechanical issues in his delivery.

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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 acquire Aramis from Brewers

Veteran began career with Pittsburgh in 1998

Pirates acquire Aramis from Brewers

PITTSBURGH -- Twelve years after the Pirates traded him away, Aramis Ramirez is coming back to Pittsburgh.

The Bucs acquired Ramirez and cash considerations from the Brewers on Thursday in exchange for Minor League right-hander Yhonathan Barrios, providing a much-needed upgrade for the injury-ravaged left side of their infield.

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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 down Nats behind Liriano, three homers

Bucs down Nats behind Liriano, three homers

PITTSBURGH -- After a disappointing trip through Milwaukee and Kansas City to open the second half, the Pirates got back on track as they returned home with a 7-3 win over the Nationals on Thursday night at PNC Park.

The Pirates looked a lot more like the team with the second-best record in the National League than the one that limped through a 1-5 trip coming out of the All-Star break. Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Francisco Cervelli each went deep for the Pirates, turning around an offense that managed only one run in four of its last six games.

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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.

Kang getting it done as full-time shortstop

Kang getting it done as full-time shortstop

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates made two moves to patch up the battered and bruised left side of their infield. One came Thursday, when they traded for Aramis Ramirez to be the everyday third baseman.

The other was made back in January, when Pittsburgh signed Korean Baseball Organization infielder Jung Ho Kang to a four-year, $11 million contract. Injuries have turned Kang into the Pirates' everyday shortstop for the foreseeable future, but he's playing like he earned the job and continued to do just that during the Pirates' 7-3 win over the Nationals on Thursday night at PNC Park.

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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.

Ailing Mercer hoping to beat return timetable

Shortstop walking with slight limp days after suffering MCL sprain

Ailing Mercer hoping to beat return timetable

PITTSBURGH -- Given the way he felt lying on the Miller Park infield dirt Sunday afternoon, Jordy Mercer was pleased to be standing and walking on his own two feet Thursday.

Mercer could miss up to six weeks with a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. But in the hours after Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez took a hard slide directly into Mercer, he didn't think he'd be walking with only a slight limp less than a week later.

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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.