McCutchen's patience pays off against Brewers

Cleanup hitter's nine-pitch at-bat shifted momentum for Bucs

McCutchen's patience pays off against Brewers

PITTSBURGH -- For the first time since 2011, Andrew McCutchen did not come to bat in the first inning of a Pirates game. When he did get into the batter's box, he was sure to make the most of it.

McCutchen batted cleanup for the Bucs for the second time in four years. When he last did so in 2013, he still got his first-inning ups amidst a rally.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates warm up in rematch with Brewers' Nelson

Pirates warm up in rematch with Brewers' Nelson

PITTSBURGH -- Sean Rodriguez and Josh Harrison delivered RBI singles in the fifth inning Friday night to snap a 1-1 tie and Starling Marte added a two-run homer in the eighth as the Pirates downed the Brewers, 6-3.

Jimmy Nelson, who blanked Pittsburgh for seven innings on Saturday, again pitched well but received little support from a Milwaukee offense that continued to be challenged with men in scoring position, going 1-for-7 in those situations.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. 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 activate Stewart from DL, option Sanchez to Triple-A

Bucs activate Stewart from DL, option Sanchez to Triple-A

PITTSBURGH -- This was not the first time Tony Sanchez had been optioned to the Minor Leagues. Friday's news, however, was the toughest for the Pirates to deliver and for Sanchez to accept.

"It really stinks when you do everything they ask you to, and you still get sent out. But it's the nature of the beast," said Sanchez, who understood the necessity behind his fifth trip back to the Minors since his big league debut in June 2013.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Locke looks to continue success against Brewers

Locke looks to continue success against Brewers

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates and Brewers, two of the Majors' least productive offensive clubs so far this season, will look to get on track Saturday night in the second game of their weekend set at PNC Park. Right-hander Kyle Lohse is set to take the ball for Milwaukee opposite Pittsburgh left-hander Jeff Locke.

Three things to know about this game:

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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.

Mercer quickly put big E6 in rearview mirror

Bucs shortstop hasn't made throwing error to first since mistake during 2013 playoff race

Mercer quickly put big E6 in rearview mirror

PITTSBURGH -- At the dawn of his career, Jordy Mercer had a "dusk" moment. It was only his 69th career start at shortstop when the Pirates took the PNC Park field against the Reds on Sept. 20, 2013, just a mere game behind the Cardinals in the National League Central.

The Bucs led, 5-2, with two outs in the ninth. Todd Frazier sent a slow roller toward short, Mercer charged and fielded the ball -- and heaved it past first baseman Justin Morneau.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Liriano caps strong effort by starters vs. Tigers

Despite losing series, Pirates' starting pitchers allow just three runs

Liriano caps strong effort by starters vs. Tigers

PITTSBURGH -- The Tigers rolled into PNC Park this week as an offensive juggernaut, averaging nearly eight runs per game the first week of the season.

Though the Pirates' lineup scuffled as the Bucs lost the three-game series, Pittsburgh's pitching staff emerged as an obvious bright spot for the club.

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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 join together with MLB to celebrate Jackie

Cutch, Harrison wear special cleats; Bucs honor contest-winning students

Pirates join together with MLB to celebrate Jackie

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle shared three Jackie Robinson quotes in his daily email Wednesday morning. One of them in particular, he said, stands out every time he reads it.

"It's the one that, for me, always resonates with Jackie Robinson," Hurdle said before Wednesday night's game against the Tigers at PNC Park. "'A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.'"

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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 solid, but Bucs can't solve Simon

Liriano solid, but Bucs can't solve Simon

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Alfredo Simon threw eight shutout innings and center fielder Rajai Davis swatted the go-ahead hit for the second consecutive night as the Tigers beat the Pirates, 1-0, on Wednesday at PNC Park.

A night after right-hander Shane Greene efficiently shut down the Pirates for eight innings, Simon did the same, allowing two hits and striking out two as he breezed through the Bucs' lineup on 108 pitches.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. 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' offense slumping out of the gate

Pirates' offense slumping out of the gate

PITTSBURGH -- Last year, the Pirates boasted one of the most patient and productive lineups in baseball. They led the National League with 520 walks and ranked fourth with 682 runs.

That hasn't been the case for the Bucs so far this season, particularly after getting shut out by the Tigers the last two nights 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.

Confusion ensues after ball hits umpire Layne in mask

Confusion ensues after ball hits umpire Layne in mask

PITTSBURGH -- The Tigers' 1-0 win over the Pirates at PNC Park on Wednesday night was delayed for more than 10 minutes in the top of the ninth inning after home-plate umpire Jerry Layne was hit in the mask by a 3-2 pitch from Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon.

But the delay wasn't caused by Layne's injury -- though he did leave the game -- so much as the ensuing confusion about whether Miguel Cabrera had drawn a walk.

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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.

Morton, Stewart progressing on rehab assignments

Righty to throw in extended spring Saturday; catcher nearing return to Bucs

Morton, Stewart progressing on rehab assignments

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Charlie Morton and catcher Chris Stewart are making progress, with Stewart potentially nearing a return to the Pirates' active roster.

Stewart, recovering from a right hamstring strain, has played five games as part of his Minor League rehab assignment. The Bucs' backup catcher spent two games with Double-A Altoona and three with Triple-A Indianapolis, and the Pirates plan to speak with Stewart on Thursday to see how he's feeling.

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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 head of youth sports Reagins discusses game's future

MLB head of youth sports Reagins discusses game's future

LOS ANGELES -- Tony Reagins has spent decades in the game of baseball, and he's worked in everything from marketing to baseball operations. Reagins, formerly the general manager of the Angels, has taken on a new assignment with Major League Baseball as the senior vice president of youth programs, and he took some time Tuesday to discuss his plans for the future.

Reagins, under new Commissioner Rob Manfred, will be in charge of consolidating the league's relationships with youth, high school and college baseball organizations around the country. Reagins attended the Civil Rights Game instructional clinic Tuesday at Rancho Cienega Recreation Center, and he spoke a bit about Jackie Robinson, the Urban Youth Academies and the future of the game.

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

Burnett shows fans what they missed after year away

Right-hander strikes out eight over 6 2/3 innings in loss to Detroit

Burnett shows fans what they missed after year away

PITTSBURGH -- A.J. Burnett spent a year away from the Pirates, pitching last season for the Phillies, but he looked a lot like his old self Tuesday night in his return to PNC Park.

Burnett has been welcomed back with open arms at almost every turn this week. The crowd offered one of its loudest cheers for Burnett during Monday's pregame player introductions. They stood and cheered when he walked off the mound Tuesday night.

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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.

Miggy's slap of baseball all in good fun, says Cervelli

Miggy's slap of baseball all in good fun, says Cervelli

PITTSBURGH -- Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera drew the ire of nearly 32,000 fans at PNC Park on Tuesday night. It's not unusual for fans to dread seeing the two-time American League MVP face their team, but this had nothing to do with Cabrera's excellence at the plate.

During the fourth inning of Tuesday night's 2-0 Tigers' win, Pirates starter A.J. Burnett got Cabrera to swing and miss on a curveball in the dirt. Catcher Francisco Cervelli picked up the ball and tagged Cabrera in the chest to complete the strikeout.

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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's strong outing not enough vs. Tigers

Burnett's strong outing not enough vs. Tigers

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Shane Greene fired eight innings of three-hit ball and Rajai Davis broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning as the Tigers beat the Pirates, 2-0, at PNC Park on Tuesday night.

Pirates starter A.J. Burnett received a warm welcome from the crowd of 31,755 in his return to Pittsburgh. The 38-year-old right-hander sailed through six innings before running into trouble in the seventh, issuing two one-out walks that quickly came back to haunt him.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. 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 monitoring Melancon's decreased velocity

Closer allowed three runs in ninth inning of Monday's home opener vs. Tigers

Pirates monitoring Melancon's decreased velocity

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates closer Mark Melancon gave up three runs on four hits in the ninth inning of Monday's home opener at PNC Park, nearly letting the Tigers erase the Bucs' four-run lead.

But it wasn't his pitching line that came up Tuesday afternoon. It was his radar gun readings.

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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.

Hurdle not concerned about slow-starting Marte

Left fielder hitting .115 early on gets night off vs. Tigers

Hurdle not concerned about slow-starting Marte

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has mostly shrugged off any questions and concerns about his club's offense early on this season. And it's precisely for that reason: The season is barely a week old.

But the Pirates saw left fielder Starling Marte struggle enough through seven games to give him a day off Tuesday against the Tigers.

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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 ride Cole, trio of HRs to home-opening victory

Bucs ride Cole, trio of HRs to home-opening victory

PITTSBURGH -- Gerrit Cole pitched one-hit ball into the seventh inning and Josh Harrison, Pedro Alvarez and pinch-hitter Corey Hart homered, and the Pirates held on for a 5-4 win over the previously undefeated Tigers in Pittsburgh's home opener Monday afternoon.

Anibal Sanchez made 101 pitches without giving up a run in his first start Wednesday, but his first pitch this time was deposited in the right-center seats by Harrison to jump-start the Bucs in front of 39,933, a record regular-season crowd in PNC Park.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cole crafts masterful outing against red-hot Tigers

Pirates righty allows just one run over six-plus, notches eight strikeouts

Cole crafts masterful outing against red-hot Tigers

PITTSBURGH -- Gerrit Cole on Monday was "the master craftsman he wants to be on the mound," as his manager put it. The only tool Cole lacked was a Shop-Vac.

Cole called it "frustrating" not being able to "clean my own mess up" in an eventual 5-4 victory over the Tigers. He referred to leaving reliever Jared Hughes in a bases-loaded, none-out dustup in the seventh inning of a game he and the Pirates led, 2-0, on PNC Park's Opening Day.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs regain momentum on Hughes' relief, then late HRs

After righty induces key double play, dingers by Alvarez, Hart pad lead

Bucs regain momentum on Hughes' relief, then late HRs

PITTSBURGH -- The Tigers were threatening to spoil the Pirates' joyous home opener Monday afternoon at PNC Park, seemingly stealing the Bucs' momentum in the top of the seventh inning by loading the bases with nobody out.

Eight pitches, a big double play and two home runs later, the Pirates had decisively swung the game back in their favor en route to a 5-4 victory.

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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.

Traffic jam on way to PNC puts smile on Hurdle's face

Before home opener, Bucs manager calls it 'tangible sign of success' for club

Traffic jam on way to PNC puts smile on Hurdle's face

PITTSBURGH -- Clint Hurdle sat in traffic for about 45 minutes Monday morning, spending most of that time within a few blocks of PNC Park. It was the kind of standstill that would send most people into a fit of road rage.

Not Hurdle -- not on Pittsburgh's Opening Day. After seven weeks of Spring Training and a week on the road to start the regular season, the Pirates returned home to PNC Park on Monday afternoon.

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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.

At Pirates' home opener, plenty of pomp and circumstance

At Pirates' home opener, plenty of pomp and circumstance

PITTSBURGH -- Mother Nature broke out her fabulous best for the Pirates' home opener, but despite 76-degree temperatures at sun-drenched PNC Park, there were no shortage of chills.

The pageantry of the Bucs' 129th inaugural began with presentation of Silver Sluggers to center fielder Andrew McCutchen and second baseman Neil Walker -- for 2014, not for Sunday, when each on cue hit a three-run homer in the Pirates' 10-2 victory in Milwaukee.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cutch homers, Pirates pile on in six-run ninth

Cutch homers, Pirates pile on in six-run ninth

MILWAUKEE -- Andrew McCutchen must be a quick healer. A few hours after sitting out Saturday night's game with the sore left knee that forced him out of Friday's series opener, McCutchen drilled a three-run homer in the sixth inning to erase Kyle Lohse's 2-1 lead and spark the Pirates to a 10-2 victory Sunday over the Brewers at Miller Park.

"I'm not the type of person who likes to take days off," said McCutchen, who added a fourth RBI by contributing a run-scoring single to the Bucs' breakout six-run ninth. "So it was good that I was able to do something to help the team out."

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sadler goes above and beyond in fill-in start

Pirates prospect earned his first big league win substituting for Liriano

Sadler goes above and beyond in fill-in start

MILWAUKEE -- With all the Spring Training attention on the Pirates' fifth starter, leave it up to the sixth starter to turn in one of the strongest performances of this young season.

That would be Casey Sadler, who had to pinch-start for Francisco Liriano on Sunday and turned his first big league start into an eye-opener.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kang collects first big league hit after being robbed twice

Pirates infielder hit two balls hard earlier, but fell victim to great defense

Kang collects first big league hit after being robbed twice

MILWAUKEE -- Jung Ho Kang's first Major League hit was a soft line drive to center, but no one could deny that he had it coming after twice being robbed by Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez earlier in Sunday's game.

"I'm happy I got it," Kang said following the Pirates' 10-2 victory over the Brewers -- speaking both of the hit and the ball he'd hit, which postgame was in his locker.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer.

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

Bucs blanked as Worley hit hard

Bucs blanked as Worley hit hard

MILWAUKEE -- After struggling throughout Spring Training, it was 25-year-old Jimmy Nelson who led the Brewers to the victory column.

Nelson limited the Pirates to a pair of ground ball singles and logged a career-high nine strikeouts in seven scoreless innings, and the Brewers' quiet bats broke free in a 6-0 win at Miller Park on Saturday. After the White Sox won earlier in the day, the Brewers needed the result to avoid ending the day as Major League Baseball's only winless team.

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Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.