Bucs' big 5th vs. Tribe leads Cole to 12th win

Bucs' big 5th vs. Tribe leads Cole to 12th win

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Gerrit Cole earned his Major League-leading 12th win of the season as the Pirates reached the midpoint of their season with a 5-3 win over the Indians on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

Cole pitched eight innings, struck out five and retired the final 16 batters he faced in Pittsburgh's 81st game of the season. First baseman Pedro Alvarez started the Bucs' big rally in the fifth with a two-run homer, and center fielder Andrew McCutchen finished it with a two-run double.

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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.

Marte exits in 4th with discomfort in left side

Left fielder will be re-evaluated Monday, has dealt with similar issue before

Marte exits in 4th with discomfort in left side

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates left fielder Starling Marte left Sunday's 5-3 win over the Indians at PNC Park during the middle of an at-bat due to discomfort in his left side.

The Pirates will re-evaluate Marte's status on Monday.

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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 claim Ishikawa off waivers

Pirates claim Ishikawa off waivers

PITTSBURGH -- Travis Ishikawa is coming back to Pittsburgh.

The Pirates claimed Ishikawa off waivers from the Giants on Sunday afternoon. The Bucs will add Ishikawa to their roster and announce a corresponding move upon his arrival.

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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 call on Burnett to open series vs. Padres

Bucs call on Burnett to open series vs. Padres

There's nothing like home cooking, but the Padres have certainly made themselves downright comfortable playing the Pirates at PNC Park.

Going back to the 2008 season, the Padres are 19-4 in their past 23 games at PNC Park, winning 11 consecutive games from 2009-12.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Locke dazzles with eight scoreless innings

Lefty faces one over minimum, retires last 19 in stellar outing

Locke dazzles with eight scoreless innings

PITTSBURGH -- Driven to not be the lemon in the Pirates' rotation garage, Jeff Locke on Saturday instead became their sleek roadster.

"Everyone in the rotation has done it most of the season, and you never want to feel like you're the weak link," Locke said after eight innings of brilliance in the Bucs' 1-0 win over the Indians on a PNC Park Independence Day afternoon. "You want to put forth the best effort."

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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 even series vs. Tribe with Locke's gem

Bucs even series vs. Tribe with Locke's gem

PITTSBURGH -- Jeff Locke turned off a hot Indians offense for eight innings on Saturday and Neil Walker's sixth-inning single drove in the only run he needed to give the Pirates a 1-0 victory on Independence Day.

Cleveland rookie Cody Anderson matched Locke with the exception of a brief sixth-inning sequence, when Josh Harrison doubled and scored on Walker's ensuing single.

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

Bucs turn to untouchable Melancon in 9th

Despite Locke's stellar first eight innings, Hurdle makes tough decision to go with closer

Bucs turn to untouchable Melancon in 9th

PITTSBURGH -- Jeff Locke was nearly finished with the best start of his career Saturday afternoon, and manager Clint Hurdle had a tough decision to make. Should he send out Locke for the ninth with a one-run lead or turn to closer Mark Melancon?

Several minutes after the game ended with high fives, handshakes, a win for Locke and a save for Melancon, Hurdle wasn't entirely sure he'd made the right decision. But the move worked out in the end, as Melancon continued his dominant stretch of ninth-inning performances and the Pirates beat the Indians, 1-0, 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.

Richard gone, but Bucs feel good about depth

Richard gone, but Bucs feel good about depth

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates had hoped to keep Clayton Richard in the Indianapolis on-deck circle until circumstances forced a call for starting pitching help, but even with the veteran left-hander's deal into the Cubs' rotation, manager Clint Hurdle remains comfortable with the Bucs' supply of standby arms.

"We've lost surplus. We lost depth in our depth," Hurdle said Saturday afternoon. "But I still think we're in a place where we're covered. If we lose two starters, that might change."

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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.

Pirates carefully cast their own ASG votes

Players, coaches, managers consider who will help them win home-field advantage

Pirates carefully cast their own ASG votes

PITTSBURGH -- For a team like the Pirates, the outcome of the All-Star Game -- and the resulting home-field advantage in the World Series -- takes on a little added significance. So, too, does the process of filling out their All-Star ballots.

Much attention has been paid this summer to the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot fan voting. But each Major League player, coach and manager receives a ballot of his own to fill out.

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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 struggle after delay, but don't blame rain

Pirates have experience with inclement weather, 'don't get caught up in all that external stuff,' Hurdle says

Bucs struggle after delay, but don't blame rain

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have gotten used to rain delays this season. They've sat and waited, gone back to the clubhouse and retaken the field through nearly 12 hours worth of them over eight games this year.

They came out on the other side of a two-hour, eight-minute stoppage Friday night and saw a close game -- down one, tying run on first -- slip away as they lost to the Indians, 5-2, 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.

McCutchen provides only offense for Bucs

McCutchen provides only offense for Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- A trio of early runs and another solid start led the Indians to their fifth straight win, a 5-2 victory over the Pirates on a rainy Friday night at PNC Park.

With Brandon Moss and Michael Bourn providing some early run support, right-hander Trevor Bauer picked up where the rest of the Cleveland rotation left off in Tampa Bay earlier this week. Bauer (7-5) retired the first 10 Pirates hitters he faced and held the Bucs to just two runs before rain knocked him out of the game with one out in the seventh inning. Bauer's showing gave Cleveland's rotation a 1.67 ERA over the team's five-game win streak.

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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.

Bucs trade lefty Richard to Cubs

Bucs trade lefty Richard to Cubs

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates made good on their promise and intent when they came to a Minor League agreement on Dec. 3 with veteran lefty Clayton Richard: to work him back to the Major Leagues.

Richard is coming, but not to the Pirates, who on Friday honored the "upward mobility" clause in his contract by trading him to the Cubs for cash considerations.

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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.

Hernia surgery likely to end Taillon's season

Hernia surgery likely to end Taillon's season

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates pitching prospect Jameson Taillon was nearing another milestone in his recovery from Tommy John surgery last week, preparing to pitch for one of Pittsburgh's Minor League affiliates for the first time since 2013.

Now, it appears Taillon has lost another season. The Bucs' No. 2 prospect is expected to have surgery late next week to repair an inguinal hernia, the Pirates announced Friday, likely sidelining him for the rest of the 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.

Liriano's gem sets tone in Bucs' Detroit sweep

Liriano's gem sets tone in Bucs' Detroit sweep

DETROIT -- Francisco Liriano tossed seven scoreless innings, and a four-run ninth weathered a late comeback attempt as the Pirates completed a three-game sweep of the Tigers with an 8-4 win on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.

Rajai Davis lined Liriano's first pitch into center field for a single, but the southpaw allowed just four hits the rest of the way. In the fourth inning, Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler and first baseman Miguel Cabrera reached with one out, but Liriano worked out of his biggest jam of the day by inducing groundouts from Victor Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes.

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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. Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Liriano neutralizes lefty-mashing Tigers

Bucs southpaw drops ERA to 2.99 in completing sweep vs. potent lineup

Liriano neutralizes lefty-mashing Tigers

DETROIT -- The hard-to-hit left-hander went up against the team that hits lefties hard on Thursday afternoon. It was no contest.

Francisco Liriano pitted his miniscule opponents' average (.189) against the masculine Tigers' .276 average against southpaws -- third best in the Majors -- and pulled rank with seven scoreless innings in the Pirates' 8-4 win to cap a three-game sweep at Comerica Park.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

Stats of the Day: Bucs arms on historic pace

Liriano tosses seven scoreless innings for Pirates staff with sub-3.00 ERA

Stats of the Day: Bucs arms on historic pace

Here are four interesting items from around the big leagues Thursday:

Francisco Liriano kept the Tigers off the board for seven frames, and the Pirates completed a three-game sweep with an 8-4 victory in Detroit. As a team, Pittsburgh owns a historic 2.91 ERA. The club has entered the All-Star break with a sub-3.00 ERA only once: in 1968. That year, Ron Kline, Bob Veale and Co. compiled a 2.65 ERA.

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Roger Schlueter is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs prideful on eve of first pitch with dads

Fifteen set for Friday's ceremony, an idea conceived by Hurdle

Bucs prideful on eve of first pitch with dads

DETROIT -- The Bucs' annual "Take your father to work" week will have a special and heart-tugging conclusion on Friday night, when the Pirates will open a 10-game homestand and an Independence Day weekend of ball at PNC Park.

The 15 dads who have spent the last three days here with their sons are traveling with them back to Pittsburgh. Prior to the series opener against the Indians, they will deliver 15 simulatenous first pitches to their sons.

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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.

Walker getting hot at right time for Pirates

Walker getting hot at right time for Pirates

DETROIT -- Hit on the head by Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera's arm as he crossed the bag on an infield hit in the sixth inning of the Pirates' 9-3 win over the Tigers, Neil Walker got a temporary bad feeling. How bad?

"I didn't know where I was," Walker said.

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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.

Burnett making strong case to be an All-Star

Burnett making strong case to be an All-Star

DETROIT -- A.J. Burnett is not running. But If elected, he will serve with bursting pride on the 2015 National League All-Star Team.

That much was clear after Burnett threw a few more dozen unhittable two-seam fastballs into the ring during the Bucs' 9-3 win over Detroit on Wednesday night.

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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.

Walker, Burnett lead Pirates to win over Tigers

Walker, Burnett lead Pirates to win over Tigers

DETROIT -- Second baseman Neil Walker's two-homer night propelled the Pirates to a season-high 21 hits as they topped the Tigers, 9-3, on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

Pittsburgh took command with a five-run third against Detroit starter Alfredo Simon. The inning was highlighted by Walker's first home run of the night, which followed a leadoff double from third baseman Josh Harrison. Walker, left fielder Starling Marte and designated hitter Pedro Alvarez all homered in the eighth inning off reliever Joba Chamberlain to all but seal the win.

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

Cole defends actions after Martinez hit-by-pitch

Cole defends actions after Martinez hit-by-pitch

DETROIT -- Gerrit Cole took an obviously reluctant turn Wednesday afternoon to answer Victor Martinez's accusation and sentiment.

The Detroit DH had said postgame the Cole pitch that hit him midway through the Pirates' 5-4, 14-inning win Tuesday night had been intentional, and for that he had no respect for the player, his team and its coaches.

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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.

Walker's dad named to Texas League Hall of Fame

Walker's dad named to Texas League Hall of Fame

DETROIT -- A couple of years ago, the Pirates' annual Father's Trip happily coincided with the announcement of the National League All-Star team. The fathers of Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Jason Grilli were all in Wrigley Field to celebrate with their sons.

Wednesday, during this summer's Father's Trip, the tables were turned for one of the dads: Tom Walker, Neil's dad and a former Major Leaguer himself, received notification he had been chosen for the Texas League Hall of Fame.

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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.

Hanson rips inside-the-park home run for Triple-A Indianapolis

Pirates No. 7 prospect goes 3-for-4 in his first game back from the disabled list

Hanson rips inside-the-park home run for Triple-A Indianapolis

Well, that didn't take long.

In Alen Hanson's first game back from the disabled list, the Pirates' No. 7 prospect (No. 77 overall) ripped a third-inning solo inside-the-park home run off the center-field wall, which ultimately provided the winning margin in Triple-A Indianapolis' 2-1 win over Columbus on Wednesday.

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

Walker picks up Bucs with 14th-inning double

Walker picks up Bucs with 14th-inning double

DETROIT -- Neil Walker's double down the right-field line scored the go-ahead run in the 14th inning as the Pirates outlasted the Tigers, 5-4, on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

Until the eighth inning, it seemed as if the Buccos would claim the series opener easily, but a pair of Martinezes quickly erased a two-run deficit. Two batters after Detroit designated hitter Victor Martinez reached on a leadoff single to left field, J.D. Martinez launched the second pitch he saw from Tony Watson over the left-field wall. But neither team broke the tie until the 14th, when Josh Harrison doubled off lefty reliever Tom Gorzelanny and Walker drove him in a batter later.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. 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.

Gorkys' miscue pardoned by Walker's winner

Baserunning error could have cost Bucs game without 14th-inning double

Gorkys' miscue pardoned by Walker's winner

DETROIT -- "Gorkys' gaffe" might have found a permanent place in Pirates history -- had the Bucs not rendered it essentially trivial by overcoming it to beat the Tigers, 5-4 in 14 innings. Infamy grows in miscues, not in unlikely triumph.

"I didn't think we'd get away with it," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said bluntly about Gorkys Hernandez's baserunning blunder that cost the Bucs the go-ahead run in the 14th -- briefly.

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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.

Guerra waits 10 years to earn first MLB victory

Reliever caps off Pirates' 14-inning win over Tigers, pitching final three frames

Guerra waits 10 years to earn first MLB victory

DETROIT -- When it was time to sum up the Pirates' 5-4, 14-inning escape, manager Clint Hurdle could have started at a lot of places. He chose to start with Deolis Guerra.

"Guerra shows up," Hurdle said of the right-handed reliever, who was plugged into the bullpen four days ago. "Pitched three out of four days, and gives us three more innings. That's fantastic. ... 10 years toiling [in the Minors], and to come back and get the win."

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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 happy to have Hernandez back with club

Outfielder made his debut with Pittsburgh after coming from Detroit in 2012

Bucs happy to have Hernandez back with club

DETROIT -- As he does every time the schedule brings him to Detroit, Michigan-born-and-raised Clint Hurdle talks emotionally about the chance to return to his roots. But the Pirates' manager isn't the only one who has come home.

Bucs outfielder Gorkys Hernandez is experiencing a double-homecoming. He was originally signed by the Tigers as a 17-year-old free agent from Venezuela in 2005. And, more importantly, Hernandez has been brought back by the team with which he made his big league debut in '12.

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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.

Cole finds comfort as the Cy Young slayer

Ace will face fellow strikeout artist Verlander in Pirates-Tigers series opener

Cole finds comfort as the Cy Young slayer

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.

That association was only reinforced early in Cole's rookie season when -- pumped to be on the Angel Stadium mound within a short drive of his Newport Beach, Calif., home -- he uncorked a 101-mph pitch, the fastest recorded since 2008 by a starting pitcher other than Justin Verlander.

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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.