Bucs ride Locke, 6-run 2nd to sail by Marlins

Bucs ride Locke, 6-run 2nd to sail by Marlins

MIAMI -- It had been a frustrating month for Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke. Even as Pittsburgh kept winning, Locke often struggled. He hadn't finished the sixth inning in six starts. His ERA during that stretch started with a six. But he put that behind him Wednesday night at Marlins Park, firing seven strong innings as the Pirates cruised to a 7-2 win over the Marlins.

Andrew McCutchen crushed a three-run homer as part of a six-run second inning, giving Locke plenty of room to work with. And Locke took full advantage of the early run support, getting better as the night wore on in his best start of the second half.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCutchen elevating his game to new heights

All-Star center fielder homers, drives in four during Bucs' win over Marlins

McCutchen elevating his game to new heights

MIAMI -- It may be hard to believe, but Andrew McCutchen -- with a little help from his friends -- has found a way to take his offensive game to another level this season.

McCutchen's 20th home run of the season, a three-run laser into the left-field seats at Marlins Park, capped a six-run second inning in the Pirates' 7-2 win on Wednesday night. The 414-foot blast brought his RBI total to four on the night and 85 for 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.

Bucs looking for flexibility with September callups

Bucs looking for flexibility with September callups

MIAMI -- With Sept. 1 less than a week away, the Pirates are mulling over their September callup options. At the same time, they must consider the ramifications every move might have on their potential postseason roster.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle spoke with general manager Neal Huntington about their upcoming roster moves on Monday, and he was scheduled to do so again on Wednesday. The quick takeaway: Don't expect anything too surprising.

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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.

Shoulder surgery to sideline Bucs' prospect 10-12 months

Club's top pick in 2014 to miss most of '16 with torn labrum

Shoulder surgery to sideline Bucs' prospect 10-12 months

MIAMI -- Shortstop Cole Tucker, the Pirates' top 2014 Draft pick, could be sidelined up to a year after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Tucker, 19, is expected to miss approximately 10-12 months. That recovery timeline would keep him off the field for the rest of this season and potentially most of next year's Minor League season as well.

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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.

Cole looks to end August strong in finale vs. Marlins

While the 24-year-old Gerrit Cole -- a former Pirates top prospect -- quickly established himself as a top-end starter in the Pittsburgh rotation, the Marlins are hoping 23-year-old rookie Justin Nicolino -- their No. 3 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com -- can soon do the same. They'll square off in the series finale Thursday night at Marlins Park.

Cole is coming off a seven-inning, one-run performance on Saturday against the Giants, although the run was unearned. It broke a streak of two straight starts in which the righty allowed four earned runs. However, Cole is 0-3 in five August starts and is still looking for his first win since July 26.

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

Burnett throws sim game, calls it 'positive day'

Burnett throws sim game, calls it 'positive day'

MIAMI -- Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett took another step toward a possible September return Tuesday afternoon at Marlins Park, throwing a two-inning simulated game.

Working his way back from a flexor strain in his right elbow, Burnett threw 35 fastballs and tossed another 20 pitches in the bullpen.

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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.

Stifled after first, Pirates see win streak end

Stifled after first, Pirates see win streak end

MIAMI -- Lefty Brad Hand threw a career-high eight-plus innings, silencing the Pirates' lineup and leading the Marlins to a 5-2 win over the National League Wild Card leaders Tuesday night at Marlins Park.

Hand scattered nine hits but held Pittsburgh to two runs, striking out five without walking a batter. He left the game in the ninth after serving up two singles to start the inning, which set up the Pirates to load the bases and make it a three-run game. But Marlins closer A.J. Ramos got Sean Rodriguez to fly out to center field, stranding a pair of runners to record his 22nd save.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cutch compares favorably to greats at 1K mark

After reaching 1,000 games Monday, All-Star's career stats stack up well next to Clemente, Bonds

Cutch compares favorably to greats at 1K mark

Andrew McCutchen clearly is one of the greatest in today's MLB. When compared to two historic Pittsburgh Pirates, he also is already one of the franchise's all-time greats.

McCutchen played in his 1,000th career game on Monday night -- and marked it in style with a two-run double that started the Bucs toward a 5-2 victory over the Marlins in Miami -- a nice round number that offers a convenient opportunity to compare.

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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 can't match outfielders in holding runners

Pirates get assists from Marte, Polanco, but allow Marlins to steal five bases

Bucs can't match outfielders in holding runners

MIAMI -- The Pirates had an unusual time trying to contain the Marlins' aggressive running game Tuesday night.

Pittsburgh's corner outfielders each gunned down a runner at third base, making Miami pay for its attempts to take an extra base. But the Bucs' battery struggled to slow down Marlins speedster Dee Gordon, who had four of Miami's five steals in a 5-2 loss at Marlins 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.

Polanco continues hot streak in win over Marlins

Outfielder tallies four hits for the first time in 2015

Polanco continues hot streak in win over Marlins

MIAMI -- The last time the Pirates came to Marlins Park, Gregory Polanco announced his presence with authority. He swatted five hits in one night, ripped a game-winning homer and tortured Miami's pitching all series. It was perhaps the best Polanco has looked at the big league level -- until now, that is.

Polanco started hitting in early July and hasn't stopped since. He kept raking Monday night in his return to Marlins Park, piling up four hard hits in the Pirates' 5-2 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.

Pirates down Marlins behind strong Happ

Pirates down Marlins behind strong Happ

MIAMI -- Led by another strong start from left-hander J.A. Happ and Gregory Polanco's four-hit night, the Pirates continued their dominance against the National League East with a 5-2 win over the Marlins on Monday.

Happ fired six scoreless innings, allowing only four hits and a walk while striking out six. Since his disappointing Pirates debut on Aug. 4, Happ has pitched 17 1/3 innings over three starts and permitted only one run.

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Adam Berry and Joe Frisaro are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Caminero diversifies pitching arsenal

Caminero diversifies pitching arsenal

MIAMI -- Pirates reliever Arquimedes Caminero is known for his blazing fastball, a pitch that often clocks in faster than 100 mph. But he has quietly, and quite successfully, diversified his arsenal recently.

Caminero has essentially improved upon his signature pitch, a four-seam fastball, by making frequent use of a sinker. He began throwing the pitch on Aug. 1, according to PITCHf/x data, and it's been his go-to offering ever since.

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

Bucs overcome 3 errors for series win vs. Giants

Bucs overcome 3 errors for series win vs. Giants

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has an expression for the "gamer" attitude his players use to overcome their own rash of mistakes to post the Majors' third best record: "So what? Now what?"

The Pirates played their ultimate "So what? Now what?" game Sunday night, downing the Giants, 5-2, despite a series of physical and mental errors in the middle innings. After two fielding errors by first baseman Pedro Alvarez and a throwing error by second baseman Neil Walker gifted the Giants with two runs to trim the Bucs' lead to 3-2, homers by Andrew McCutchen in the sixth and Alvarez in the seventh restored order.

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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' bullpen going above and beyond

Bucs' bullpen going above and beyond

PITTSBURGH -- In discussing the freaky good relievers in his otherworldly bullpen, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle dropped an inadvertent malaprop the other day.

"I feel confident in them. They're convicted," Hurdle 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.

Bucs activate Mercer, place Ishikawa on DL

Bucs activate Mercer, place Ishikawa on DL

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates were already hot. On Sunday, they became whole -- shortstop Jordy Mercer was activated after an 11-day, seven-game rehabilitation assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Mercer rejoined the cast two days after Josh Harrison returned from his own rehab assignment in the same place. Admirably, the Bucs went 20-10 while both erstwhile regulars were absent.

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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' Marte hits walk-off homer to top Giants

Bucs' Marte hits walk-off homer to top Giants

PITTSBURGH -- Seven innings after robbing Brandon Crawford of a home run, Starling Marte robbed Crawford's entire team of a possible win. Marte's homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth Saturday gave the Pirates a 3-2 walk-off win over the stunned Giants at PNC Park.

Marte drilled the first pitch to him by George Kontos for his 15th homer of the season to keep the game's theme to its conclusion. The Bucs' first two runs had been the product of Jung Ho Kang's first career two-homer game.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Seeking 'another level,' Kang hits two homers

Seeking 'another level,' Kang hits two homers

PITTSBURGH -- Early on this season, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle presented Jung Ho Kang with a number of lineup cards, each to commemorate a Major League "first" -- first at-bat, home run, homer at home, hit-by-pitch and so on.

Kang would seem entitled to Hurdle's sheet from the Pirates' 3-2 win over the Giants at PNC Park, a memento of his first multi-homer game in the big leagues. But that might not be necessary anymore.

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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.

Marte's leap steals home run from Giants

Pirates outfielder denies Crawford, brother of pitcher Cole's fiancee

Marte's leap steals home run from Giants

PITTSBURGH -- Starling Marte may have come up with an early wedding present for Gerrit Cole's upcoming marriage to Amy Crawford: robbing the Pirates pitcher's future brother-in-law of a home run.

The Giants' Brandon Crawford hit a towering fly ball to left field in the second inning of Saturday's game at PNC Park -- towering enough for Marte to drift back and make a leaping catch at the 383-foot sign. Seven innings later, Marte went over that wall considerably to the right of that sign for the walk-off homer that gave the Bucs a 3-2 win over the Giants.

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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.

On-the-rise Pirates getting national play

Success gets Bucs more exposure to fans across United States

On-the-rise Pirates getting national play

PITTSBURGH -- As the Pirates' win total grows, so does their recognition. Two years removed from anonymity, the Bucs are definitely ready-for-prime-time players -- perhaps the ultimate confirmation of Clint Hurdle's mission to change the culture and image of the storied franchise.

MLB Network on Thursday. FOX Sports 1 on Saturday. ESPN Sunday Night Baseball on deck. As the curtain rises, so does awareness and admiration of the Bucs, of their ballpark, of their city.

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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' Glasnow fans nine in first Triple-A win

Pirates' Glasnow fans nine in first Triple-A win

Tyler Glasnow picked up his first Triple-A win Saturday afternoon, going 6 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out nine hitters as Indianapolis took down Charlotte, 6-0.

Pittsburgh's top prospect (No. 8 overall) now boasts a 0.99 ERA in five starts for the Indians after allowing four hits and two walks against the Knights. He's been with Indianapolis since Aug. 1 and has allowed three earned runs -- none of which have come in his past two outings (11 1/3 innings).

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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.

Pirates miss best chance against MadBum

Pirates miss best chance against MadBum

PITTSBURGH -- A predicament -- looking up at Madison Bumgarner from a four-run second-inning hole -- appeared to be turning into a possibility for the Pirates.

They had the storied left-hander on a very narrow ledge. But when they couldn't push him over, the Giants' ace shoved back, hard, dooming the Bucs to a 6-4 loss on Friday 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.

Locke, Pirates thwarted by Giants' home runs

Locke, Pirates thwarted by Giants' home runs

PITTSBURGH -- Madison Bumgarner recovered from a shaky beginning on Friday night to not only pitch into the seventh, but he again got double-billing as the hitting star of a 6-4 victory over the Pirates at PNC Park.

Bumgarner's two-run homer in the second -- his San Francisco pitchers-record fifth of the season -- accounted for the winning run. Also making a huge contribution was the newest Giant, Marlon Byrd, who hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat and finished 3-for-5 in his debut, falling a triple shy of the cycle.

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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.

Shutout of Giants pulls Bucs up in playoff hunt

Shutout of Giants pulls Bucs up in playoff hunt

PITTSBURGH -- Charlie Morton pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning Thursday and was supported by Neil Walker's two-run homer and opposite-field RBI doubles by Aramis Ramirez and Jung Ho Kang as the Pirates downed San Francisco, 4-0, before the 19th sellout of the season at PNC Park.

Morton improved his record to 8-4, his most wins since 2010, by continuing to neutralize left-handed hitters with a wicked curve that has become his "go-to pitch when I need a strikeout." He struck out eight Thursday, giving him 17 in the 13 innings of his last two starts.

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John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. 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 besting West teams at historic pace

Pirates besting West teams at historic pace

PITTSBURGH -- It is now part of Clint Hurdle's Pirates legacy that upon assuming the team's helm after the 2010 season, he came up with a dirty laundry list they had to clean up to become respectable.

Nothing drew Hurdle's attention more than the Bucs' historic ineptitude against National League West teams, to which his own 2003-09 Colorado Rockies teams had contributed. In 2010, the Pirates' 13-19 record had been typical.

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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 train praying mantis to attack Giants player

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Pirates train praying mantis to attack Giants player

The Pirates appear to have trained these animals for their own nefarious purposes. How else can you explain this adorable praying mantis being sent to attack the Giants' Juan Perez before the two teams squared off on Thursday night? 

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Making it Happ-en: J.A. proving his worth to Bucs

Making it Happ-en: J.A. proving his worth to Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- On "Star Wars Night" at PNC Park, the force was strong with Pirates starter J.A. Happ.

Happ guided the ship with a methodical, but stellar six scoreless innings against the National League's highest-scoring offense, propelling Pittsburgh to a 4-1 win over the D-backs on Wednesday in the series-finale.

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

Pirates stay hot at home, take series vs. D-backs

Pirates stay hot at home, take series vs. D-backs

PITTSBURGH -- A night after the Pirates and D-backs went back and forth for 15 innings and more than five hours, left-hander J.A. Happ gave the Bucs the quick and efficient start they needed. Happ tossed six scoreless innings, and the Pirates continued their season-long dominance along the Allegheny River with a 4-1 win over the D-backs on Wednesday night at PNC Park.

Like Tuesday night's 9-8 win, the Pirates' series-clinching victory showcased the depth of their roster. Acquired before the non-waiver Trade Deadline to help the Pirates weather A.J. Burnett's injury, Happ stepped up to help out a tired bullpen and silence the NL's highest-scoring offense.

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Adam Berry and Steve Gilbert are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Snider returns to Bucs on Minor League deal

Snider returns to Bucs on Minor League deal

PITTSBURGH -- Travis Snider is coming back to the Pirates.

The 27-year-old outfielder, who played for Pittsburgh from 2012-14, has agreed to rejoin the Bucs on a Minor League deal, an industry source confirmed to MLB.com on Wednesday. Snider will report to Triple-A Indianapolis.

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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.

Florimon DFA one night after walk-off

Move clears room for Josh Wall, who helps a taxed bullpen

Florimon DFA one night after walk-off

PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Florimon was the Pirates' hero Tuesday night, providing a walk-off triple in the bottom of the 15th inning to beat the D-backs. On Wednesday, he was designated for assignment to make room for right-handed reliever Josh Wall.

That's quite the 180.

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

McCutchen honored to be elected to AFL Hall

McCutchen honored to be elected to AFL Hall

PITTSBURGH -- Add another accolade to Andrew McCutchen's growing collection. The former National League MVP was elected on Wednesday to the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame.

Many elite prospects have called the Fall League home at some point in their careers, and that was the case for McCutchen as a 20-year-old coming off his third professional season in the Pirates' Minor League system.

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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.