Bucs rally late, but can't hold off LA in 12th

Bucs rally late, but can't hold off LA in 12th

PITTSBURGH -- After 11 back-and-forth innings, Yasiel Puig hammered the second pitch thrown in the 12th inning, watched it fly and flipped his bat into foul territory. Puig's shot -- projected to travel 412 feet by Statcast™ -- off reliever Dovydas Neverauskas landed in the bullpens beyond the center-field fence and sent the Dodgers to a 6-5 win over the Pirates at PNC Park.

"I was just trying to put the ball in play," Puig said. "I was waiting on the fastball, that's his best pitch and the one I struggle with. But I put a good swing on it."

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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.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

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

Pirates need to stretch arms against Dodgers

Taillon forced to warm up in 12th due to limited options

Pirates need to stretch arms against Dodgers

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates knew their pitching staff would be short-handed heading into Monday night's series opener against the Dodgers. But it would have been hard to imagine the night ending as it did, with starter Jameson Taillon throwing in the bullpen in case they rallied in the 12th inning.

That's what happened, however. With his options dwindling, manager Clint Hurdle called upon rookie Dovydas Neverauskas to pitch for the third straight day, and Neverauskas served up a go-ahead home run to Yasiel Puig in the Pirates' 6-5 loss in 12 innings.

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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.

Bell looking like strong 'middle' man for Bucs

Young slugger reaping benefits of change in approach

Bell looking like strong 'middle' man for Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- About a month and a half ago, Josh Bell said he had a conversation with David Freese that sparked perhaps the best offensive stretch of Bell's young career.

Bell entered Monday's series opener against the Dodgers slashing .329/.390/.579 with six homers, four triples, nine doubles and 34 RBIs in 39 games since July 5. The switch-hitting rookie is quickly developing into the kind of middle-of-the-order run producer that manager Clint Hurdle envisioned he'd be.

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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.

'Chet' a Kuhl nickname for Players Weekend

Pirates right-hander to honor alter ego on special jerseys

'Chet' a Kuhl nickname for Players Weekend

The Chad Kuhl everybody knows is a polite, friendly 24-year-old who was born and raised in Delaware. That's not who he is on the mound, according to teammate Trevor Williams.

The intense competitor who was memorably fired up after a play at the plate in his Major League debut? The starting pitcher reaching back to fire 99 mph fastballs this season? That guy goes by another name: Chet.

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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 hope Taillon can slow surging Dodgers

Pirates hope Taillon can slow surging Dodgers

A week ago, Pirates fans might have thought they'd get a chance to see Cody Bellinger hit and Yu Darvish pitch on Tuesday for the Dodgers. Instead, Bellinger is still nursing a sprained right ankle and Darvish is on the disabled list.

Brock Stewart will be recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take Darvish's start against the Pirates and he'll be facing one of the best rookies in the league not named Bellinger, Josh Bell, who has gone 13-for-33 with seven extra-base hits and 13 RBIs in his last 11 games.

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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

History 'n' the shaking: Cards-Bucs, Bravo!

Little League Classic caps weekend in Williamsport

History 'n' the shaking: Cards-Bucs, Bravo!

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Big league dreams came true on Sunday night at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.

The first MLB Little League Classic between the Pirates and Cardinals wasn't just a home run, it was a grand slam.

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Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kingham leads Indianapolis to win

Kingham leads Indianapolis to win

Indians prospects Francisco Mejia and Bobby Bradley helped bring Akron's five-game losing streak to an end on Monday as the duo combined for five extra-base hits, five runs and six RBIs in a 13-5 victory against Harrisburg.

Mejia, MLB Pipeline's No. 16 overall prospect (Indians' No. 1), paced the Rubberducks' offense with a 3-for-4 performance and three runs scored. Batting third for Akron, the 21-year-old catcher hit back-to-back doubles in his first two at-bats before connecting on a solo shot to right-center field in the sixth inning.

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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 leave Williamsport with new perspective

Bucs leave Williamsport with new perspective

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- In 10 words, Andrew McCutchen summarized the meaning and impact of the Pirates' trip to the inaugural MLB Little League Classic.

"They're kids, man," McCutchen said Sunday afternoon. "You get to be a kid yourself."

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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.

Keller seeks another strong start with Altoona

Keller seeks another strong start with Altoona

Here's a look at top prospects to watch in today's Minor League action:

Hitter to watch: Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres' No. 4), San Antonio vs. Frisco (8:05 p.m. ET on MiLB.TV)

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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.

Bell's 4 RBIs lead Bucs to LL Classic win

Bell's 4 RBIs lead Bucs to LL Classic win

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- The Pirates and Cardinals spent most of Sunday afternoon serving as honored guests and humbled fans, taking in all the sights and sounds the Little League World Series has to offer. But while the day was dedicated to Little Leaguers, the big leaguers took center stage Sunday night as the Bucs beat the Cards, 6-3, in the inaugural MLB Little League Classic at historic Bowman Field.

For all the fun they had as fans, watching Little League World Series games and chatting up their younger counterparts in the stands, the Pirates and Cardinals knew they were in Williamsport for a reason: a Major League game in a Minor League ballpark before a crowd of Little League families. 

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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.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Cutch jersey, bright gear for Players Weekend

New event to take place during all games from Aug. 25-27

Cutch jersey, bright gear for Players Weekend

PITTSBURGH -- During Andrew McCutchen's rise to stardom, baseball fans across the country came to know the Pirates' center fielder as simply "Cutch." When McCutchen runs out to center field at Bowman Field on Sunday for the MLB Little League Classic, he'll still be "Cutch" -- and his jersey will say the same.

Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com

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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.

Meeting Little Leaguers big hit with Pirates

Major Leaguers relish fun time with younger players

Meeting Little Leaguers big hit with Pirates

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- From the moment the Pirates stepped off the bus and made their way toward the Little League World Series fields, manager Clint Hurdle said, "It was almost just like fireworks." How so?

"Things kept happening," Hurdle said. "Things that made you smile, things that made you happy you were here, appreciative you had the opportunity to be a part of something that was happening for the first time ever."

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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.

Cards and Bucs shake hands a la LLWS

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Cards and Bucs shake hands a la LLWS

It's a classic element of almost all youth sports: When the game is over, you get in line and shake hands while telling your opposition "Good game." By the time you advance to the professional game, when wins and losses have become more important, the handshakes are long gone. 

But at Sunday's Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa., the Pirates and Cardinals brought back the move following Pittsburgh's 6-3 win.

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MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Little wonder: Classic unites kids of all ages

MLB's special event at LLWS proves worthy of repeating

Little wonder: Classic unites kids of all ages

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- From the mound, he could hear the rumble and see the wave, the shrieking of voices and the parting of bodies as the men in black and gold made their way through the stands. Here, in the midst of the game of Reid Hefflick's young life, came one of the more surreal moments of his young life.

"Oh my!" Hefflick, a 13-year-old member of Canada's Little League World Series squad who hit a three-run homer and pitched 3 2/3 effective innings in a win over Latin America, thought to himself. "The Pittsburgh Pirates are watching me pitching!"

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. 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.

LLWS offers reunion for Venezuelan players

Hope for their country remains on minds of big leaguers as they greet Little Leaguers

LLWS offers reunion for Venezuelan players

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- On Sunday afternoon, little boys in green and teal uniforms stood side-by-side with grown men in black big league jerseys outside of the home dugout at Volunteer Stadium. They were in awe of each other.

There were high-fives and hugs. Fancy handshakes and lots of pats on the back. And there was hope.

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Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stallings joins Bucs for Little League Classic

Stallings joins Bucs for Little League Classic

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Jacob Stallings found out Saturday morning the Pirates would need a 26th man on Sunday night. Less than 24 hours later, he was on his way to the Little League World Series and, eventually, historic Bowman Field for MLB's first Little League Classic.

"I was excited," said Stallings, called up for a day from Triple-A Indianapolis.

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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.

Umpire Davis does double duty in Williamsport

Umpire Davis does double duty in Williamsport

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- For veteran umpire Gerry Davis, umpiring a game at the Little League World Series on Sunday brought him back to the beginning of his 35-season career.

Davis, who will be the crew chief of Sunday evening's inaugural Little League Classic between the Cardinals and Pirates on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET, was asked to join the Little League crew at second base for the first two innings of the Southeast vs. West game.

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

Hurdle thrilled to return to Williamsport

Pirates skipper spent time in town as manager in Mets Minors system

Hurdle thrilled to return to Williamsport

PITTSBURGH -- Clint Hurdle has never been to the Little League World Series, but he has some history in Williamsport, Pa.

More than a quarter century ago, Hurdle managed there. He met his wife in the north central Pennsylvania city, too. So while Hurdle may not have many Little League ties to speak of, the Pirates' involvement in Sunday's MLB Little League Classic at Historic Bowman Field holds special meaning for Hurdle.

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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.

Historic Bowman Field gets MLB spotlight

Venerable Minor League park gets facelift for inaugural Little League Classic

Historic Bowman Field gets MLB spotlight

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- The anticipation of watching the inaugural MLB Little League Classic is building, but few realize how much work went into preparing the field for tonight's game on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET. Since March 1, a grounds crew team has been stationed in Williamsport to make historic Bowman Field ready to host the Cardinals and Pirates.

Bowman Field, which opened in 1926, is one of the oldest Minor League ballparks and has undergone multiple renovations over the years. But not even the last upgrade after the conclusion of the 1999 season made the field close to Major League ready.

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

Moroff excited to return to LLWS roots

Moroff excited to return to LLWS roots

PITTSBURGH -- Max Moroff has a specific destination in mind when the Pirates visit Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport on Sunday afternoon.

Moroff was there 12 years ago for the Little League World Series, playing third base and shortstop for his team from Maitland, Fla. In the United States semifinal against Vista, Calif., teammate Mike Tomlinson hit a ball off the foul pole. But it was called a double, not a potentially game-changing home run, and there was no replay process in place. Moroff's team went on to lose to the California club, 6-2, and fell out of the tournament.

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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

Anthony Castrovince

Fun, no matter the size: Pros, kids unite at LLWS

Historic weekend culminates with Bucs-Cards matchup in Little League Classic

Fun, no matter the size: Pros, kids unite at LLWS

The squad from Lufkin, Texas, had just won its regional tournament in Waco, securing advancement to the sacred sporting ground that is Williamsport, Pa., and the Little League World Series. Steve Keener, the president and chief executive officer of Little League International, was there at the team hotel afterward to congratulate the kids and to remind them that this would be an LLWS unlike any other, because the big leaguers from the Pirates and Cardinals would be paying them a visit and then playing a game mere minutes from the Little League site.

That's when a young boy, who just so happens to idolize Andrew McCutchen, shrieked with sudden delight.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. 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.

Bucs blast 3, heat up behind steady Kuhl

Bucs blast 3, heat up behind steady Kuhl

PITTSBURGH -- Both Chad Kuhl and Michael Wacha picked up where they left off after a one-hour, 56-minute rain delay early Saturday afternoon. While Wacha struggled on the other side of the break, Kuhl seemingly only got stronger. Kuhl pitched five strong innings and the Bucs beat up on Wacha in the second, rolling to a 6-4 win at PNC Park.

The Pirates typically pull their starting pitchers when a rain delay exceeds 90 minutes. But they needed to preserve their tired bullpen and Kuhl threw only 25 pitches before the downpour, so they made an exception. The right-hander passed the time by playing catch and throwing off the mound in a batting cage. Then, he returned and completed five innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out six.

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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.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Neverauskas recalled, tosses perfect frame

Bucs option Brault; LeBlanc could return when rosters expand Sept. 1

Neverauskas recalled, tosses perfect frame

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates put the Triple-A shuttle into motion and shuffled their bullpen again Saturday afternoon. Down went left-hander Steven Brault, and up came right-hander Dovydas Neverauskas.

Following a three-inning outing from starter Trevor Williams, Brault threw 64 pitches over four innings in Pittsburgh's loss on Friday. With Brault unavailable for at least three days, the Pirates again found themselves in need of a long reliever on Saturday.

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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 can't complete valiant comeback

Pirates can't complete valiant comeback

PITTSBURGH -- The Cardinals have stormed into the thick of the National League Central race on the strength of their lineup, and they needed every last bit of it Friday night. The Cards' bullpen nearly let an eight-run lead slip away but withstood a furious Pirates rally to give St. Louis an 11-10 win over Pittsburgh at PNC Park.

"Never a doubt. Never a doubt," Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter insisted. "It was interesting, for sure. But I knew we'd find a way to finish it off."

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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.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Freese: 'We're fighting, but you've got to win'

Freese: 'We're fighting, but you've got to win'

PITTSBURGH -- David Freese figured the ball wouldn't get out. But as he ran down the first-base line after launching Seung Hwan Oh's fastball to deep center field, the ball kept carrying toward the wall in front of the Cardinals' bullpen. It landed just shy, in the glove of Tommy Pham, for a sacrifice fly that pulled the Pirates within a run.

"Made it exciting," Freese said.

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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.

Brault recalled; LeBlanc (left quad strain) to DL

Brault recalled; LeBlanc (left quad strain) to DL

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates swapped out one left-handed long reliever for another on Friday, calling up Steven Brault from Triple-A Indianapolis and placing veteran Wade LeBlanc on the disabled list due to a left quad strain.

Brault has been dominant as a starter in Indianapolis, leading the International League with a 1.94 ERA. The 25-year-old prospect is 10-5 with a 1.07 WHIP and a .199 opponents' average in 21 games (20 starts) in Triple-A. He has recorded 109 strikeouts over 120 1/3 innings, and he has consistently pitched deeper into games thanks in part to a greater focus on attacking the strike zone.

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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.

Consistency eluding Pirates in Central chase

Bucs seemingly taking step forward, two steps back, but have upcoming opportunities vs. rivals

Consistency eluding Pirates in Central chase

PITTSBURGH -- Twice over the past month, the Pirates scratched and clawed their way back to .500, pulling themselves into the National League Central race, only to lose their grip.

It happened after July 21, when they held a winning record for the first time since early April before losing eight of their next 10 games. And it may be happening now. The Pirates have lost five games in a row, including Thursday's 11-7 defeat against the Cardinals at PNC Park, since climbing back to .500 a week ago in Toronto.

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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' hot start fizzles as slide reaches five

Pirates' hot start fizzles as slide reaches five

PITTSBURGH -- After four innings Thursday night at PNC Park, the Cardinals trailed by three runs. Then came the rain and the runs. The Cards rallied for two runs before 72-minute rain delay, scored three more in the seventh inning and added four more in the ninth, sailing to an 11-7 win over the Pirates at PNC Park.

The offensive outburst marked the fourth time in 11 games that the Cardinals scored in double digits. They had previously done so just seven times in 110 games. 

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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.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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