Cole solid in 2nd start back but bats stymied

Cole solid in 2nd start back but bats stymied

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates got a solid performance out of their ace on Friday night at PNC Park, but Phillies rookie Zach Eflin answered with a gem of his own, throwing his first career shutout in a 4-0 win over Gerrit Cole at PNC Park.

Eflin efficiently mowed down the Pirates' lineup, needing only 100 pitches to get through his second complete game in his last four starts, a three-hit masterpiece in which he outdueled Cole. He benefitted from some impressive outfield defense by center fielder Odubel Herrera and right fielder Peter Bourjos, but he also induced eight groundouts and struck out six batters without a walk. He faced 29 batters, two more than the minimum, and retired 20 of the Pirates' last 21 hitters.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

Sarah K. Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Phillies on Friday.

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

Locke available out of bullpen this weekend

With upcoming off-days, Bucs skipping lefty's scheduled start

Locke available out of bullpen this weekend

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' rotation plans came into clearer focus before and after their 4-0 loss to the Phillies at PNC Park on Friday.

After the game, manager Clint Hurdle made official what had been expected all week: Top prospect Tyler Glasnow will make his home debut against the Phillies at 4:05 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon for his second Major League start.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prospect Glasnow to make home debut vs. Phils

Prospect Glasnow to make home debut vs. Phils

Prospect Tyler Glasnow is set to make his home debut as the Pirates face the Phillies at 4:05 p.m. ET on Saturday at PNC Park.

Glasnow made his debut on July 7 in St. Louis, giving up four runs on three hits in 5 1/3 innings. He holds a 7-3 record in 18 starts in the Minors this season, with a 1.94 ERA and 1.12 WHIP.

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Sarah K. Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brault among top prospect performers Friday

Mariners slugger makes immediate impact with new team; top Twins prospect fires eight strong

Brault among top prospect performers Friday

Dan Vogelbach sure knows how to make an introduction. Playing in his first game with Triple-A Tacoma since being traded from the Cubs to the Mariners on Wednesday, Seattle's new No. 15 prospect went 3-for-3 with two RBIs.

The 23-year-old wasted no time showing off his power stroke, hitting his 17th homer of the season in his first at-bat with Tacoma. After hitting that solo blast to right field in the second inning, Vogelbach followed up with an RBI double to left in the third.

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

Pipeline preview: Kuhl featured in duel of the day

Pipeline preview: Kuhl featured in duel of the day

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

Hitter to watch: Bobby Bradley (Indians' No. 3), Lynchburg vs. Carolina (6:30 p.m. ET)

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

Bucs waste Cole's outing, can't gain ground

Bucs waste Cole's outing, can't gain ground

PITTSBURGH -- Friday night was a step in the right direction for Gerrit Cole, an encouraging sign that the Pirates' ace may be finding his form in the second half. But it was a step in the wrong direction, at the wrong time, for Pittsburgh's lineup.

Entering the All-Star break, the Pirates' rotation was their only glaring weakness. Their bench and bullpen had taken shape. Their lineup hit well in consecutive series wins over the A's, Cardinals and Cubs. But their ace delivered a solid start, and it went to waste as they were shut out by rookie Zach Eflin in a 4-0 loss to the Phillies at PNC Park.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harrison, McCutchen closely tied to Griffey

Harrison, McCutchen closely tied to Griffey

PITTSBURGH -- Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, and two Pirates will be closely tied to the man they used to call "The Kid."

Andrew McCutchen grew up a huge fan of Griffey. The superstar center fielder inspired some hometown pride in Cincinnati native Josh Harrison, as Griffey attended Archbishop Moeller High School and played for the Reds from 2000-08.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Liriano K's 13, Joyce homers as Bucs win set

Liriano K's 13, Joyce homers as Bucs win set

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' Opening Day starter finally returned to top-of-the-rotation form Thursday night. Left-hander Francisco Liriano struck out 13 without a walk and led the Pirates to a 5-3 win over the Brewers at PNC Park.

Liriano had been unreliable for the better part of the season, going 1-6 with a 6.02 ERA in his past nine starts, leaving the Pirates with yet another question mark in their struggling rotation. He made progress earlier this month, but he took a big step forward as he held the Brewers to one run -- a Jonathan Villar solo shot to center field -- over his first six innings in the rubber game. Milwaukee tacked on two more runs, one of them charged to Liriano, in a sloppy seventh, but Liriano earned the standing ovation he received as he walked into the dugout after 6 2/3 innings.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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

In for ill Marte, Joyce makes most of chance

Hurdle's lineup changes pay off, as rookie Frazier delivers in leadoff spot

In for ill Marte, Joyce makes most of chance

PITTSBURGH -- Just fifteen minutes before Thursday's 5-3 win over the Brewers, Pirates outfielder Matt Joyce found out he'd be starting.

He made the most of taking Starling Marte's spot in the lineup, sending a three-run shot off Matt Garza to right field in the first inning, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead. Pittsburgh also moved rookie Adam Frazier to the leadoff spot, and both lineup changes resulted in an offensive boost.

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Sarah K. Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hurdle happy to see vintage Liriano on display

Confident, focused Bucs lefty whiffs season-high 13

Hurdle happy to see vintage Liriano on display

PITTSBURGH -- The results had been creeping in the right direction for Francisco Liriano this month, small but visible signs of progress. He limited the damage to three runs or less in back-to-back starts, then he completed six innings his last time out. But still, it wasn't quite vintage Liriano.

There were too many walks and not enough strikeouts, too many long at-bats and not enough swinging strikes. Thursday night at PNC Park? That was more like it. The veteran left-hander struck out 13 and didn't walk anyone over 6 2/3 innings, leading Pittsburgh to a 5-3 win over Milwaukee.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Williams among top prospect performers Thursday

Marlins prospect continues to sizzle on mound; Padres' No. 4 keeps on slugging

Williams among top prospect performers Thursday

It's been a stellar month for Marlins No. 24 prospect Jeff Brigham. Pitching for Class A Advanced Jupiter, Brigham has yet to yield an earned run in July, lowering his ERA from 5.28 to 3.87 in just four starts (21 2/3 innings).

The 24-year-old righty turned in yet another impressive performance Thursday, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out a season-best 10 batters. Brigham limited the Dunedin Blue Jays to four hits and one walk as the Hammerheads secured a 1-0 victory at Roger Dean Stadium.

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

Bucs fall short in see-saw battle with Brewers

Bucs fall short in see-saw battle with Brewers

PITTSBURGH -- After being dealt back-to-back walk-off losses, the Brewers walked off the field at PNC Park on Wednesday night with a 9-5 win over the Pirates following one of their best offensive performances of the season.

Milwaukee lost three of its first four games coming out of the All-Star break, the last two in especially frustrating fashion -- a passed ball on Sunday and a Little League homer on Tuesday. Neither team looked particularly crisp in the three-hour, 43-minute affair before a sold-out crowd of 36,717, but the Brewers put together a balanced offensive attack against Pirates starter Jeff Locke and four Pittsburgh relievers.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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

Hurdle ejected in first inning vs. Brewers

Hurdle ejected in first inning vs. Brewers

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected three batters into Wednesday night's 9-5 loss to the Brewers at PNC Park for arguing with home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook.

"It's the earliest I've been run," Hurdle said about three hours and 40 minutes later.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Taillon 'surprisingly good' day after taking liner to head

Taillon 'surprisingly good' day after taking liner to head

PITTSBURGH -- After taking a 105 mph line drive off the back of his head on Tuesday night, Pirates rookie Jameson Taillon reported no concussion symptoms or soreness.

The 24-year-old right-hander will remain under Major League Baseball's concussion protocol for another day, head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said. There is a 48-hour time frame following the incident during which the Pirates can place Taillon on the seven-day concussion disabled list, if necessary.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

By Josh, by jolly: Pirates' walk-off is wild

By Josh, by jolly: Pirates' walk-off is wild

PITTSBURGH -- Just when it seemed like the Pirates might be in for another long day, Josh Harrison brought things to a quick, decisive and wild close Tuesday night at PNC Park. Harrison led off the bottom of the ninth by ripping a triple into center field and completed the walk-off, Little League homer as the Pirates beat the Brewers, 3-2.

Before Tuesday's game, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle talked to his team about Murphy's law, the adage that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Pittsburgh saw it play out throughout an injury-plagued, up-and-down first half. They saw a condensed version in effect Sunday, when a two-out, two-strike solo homer off rock-steady closer Mark Melancon led to an 18-inning marathon. And it looked like recent history might repeat itself Tuesday. Down to their last strike in the top of the ninth, the Brewers tied the game on a Hernan Perez hit to center field off Melancon.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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

Deja Crew: J-Hay tags Thornburg with winner

Bucs' second baseman repeats history with walk-off hit off Brewers' reliever

Deja Crew: J-Hay tags Thornburg with winner

PITTSBURGH -- Brewers reliever Tyler Thornburg has won most of his career matchups against Pirates infielder Josh Harrison. But when Harrison has won the at-bat, he's also won the game.

Harrison delivered his second game-ending hit off Thornburg in as many seasons, racing around the bases on a ninth-inning triple and an error for a 3-2 Pirates win at Miller Park. It conjured memories of last Sept. 13, when Harrison yanked a single to left field off Thornburg for a 7-6 Pirates win in 11 innings.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates' 'pen leads league in shaves

Bucs' relievers shear heads as show of unity after dominant stretch

Pirates' 'pen leads league in shaves

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' bullpen showed up at PNC Park on Tuesday sporting a new look: shaved heads, from bullpen coach Euclides Rojas to closer Mark Melancon.

Pittsburgh's relievers came up with the idea over the weekend, figuring a bald head was an effective deterrent to the summer-time heat. It also served as a show of unity, at least physically, for a group that's come together during a successful run over the last few weeks.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scary moment precedes stellar start for Taillon

Rookie hurler remains in game after being struck in the head by line drive

Scary moment precedes stellar start for Taillon

PITTSBURGH -- Jameson Taillon was lying on his back on the mound Tuesday night, stitch marks from a line drive still visible on the back of his black Pirates cap, when the thought crossed his mind.

"Family is watching it. Girlfriend. People back home," Taillon said. "First thing that comes to mind is try to get up and show them that I'm all right."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates exploring options to boost roster

Pittsburgh hopes young pitchers can step up down the stretch

Pirates exploring options to boost roster

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates left the nation's capital after Sunday's marathon victory trailing the Cubs by 8 1/2 games in the National League Central. They are 2 1/2 games out of a NL Wild Card spot, still behind the Marlins, Mets and Cardinals. But in many ways, they are well set up for the season's stretch run.

Starting Tuesday, 37 of Pittsburgh's last 70 games will come against the rebuilding Brewers, Reds, Phillies and Braves, and the Bucs' bullpen is rounding into form. Their lineup was quiet over the weekend, but it flashed reminders of its April production before the All-Star break. Their bench is remarkably deep, and they have capable callups waiting in the Minors.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs activate Cervelli, Taillon from DL

Veteran backstop and rookie right-hander make up battery vs. Brewers on Tuesday

Bucs activate Cervelli, Taillon from DL

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates brought their battery off the disabled list before Tuesday's game against the Brewers at PNC Park. Pittsburgh activated starter Jameson Taillon, as anticipated, and brought back catcher Francisco Cervelli along with him.

Cervelli returned to the lineup for the first time since June 10 and went 0-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly in the Pirates' 3-2 win over the Brewers at PNC Park. He was placed on the disabled list June 11 as he underwent surgery to repair a fractured left hamate bone.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates stand tall in 18-inning epic with Nats

Pirates stand tall in 18-inning epic with Nats

WASHINGTON -- The longest regular-season game in Nationals history -- and the second longest in the Majors this season -- ended up as a 2-1 win for the Pirates after Starling Marte hit a solo homer in the 18th inning on Sunday at Nationals Park. The victory by Pittsburgh ended Washington's five-game winning streak. The Nats are now six games ahead of the Marlins and Mets in the National League East race.

"Too many innings, we were tired, it was time for a home run," Marte said through an interpreter.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington and covered the Pirates on Sunday.

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

Young Pirates fan shows emotions at game vs. Nats

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Young Pirates fan shows emotions at game vs. Nats

Baseball is a funny thing. 

Investing time, energy and focus on a given team or game can bring out the innermost emotions of fans. The seemingly arbitrary on-field events can hold especially powerful emotional weight for the supremely invested, something to which most young fans can attest. 

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'Time for a home run,' so Marte delivers

Pirates outfielder hits game-winning blast in 18-inning win against Nationals

'Time for a home run,' so Marte delivers

WASHINGTON -- After playing 18 innings in 90-degree weather at Nationals Park on Sunday, Starling Marte was ready to go home.

"Too many innings, we were tired, it was time for a home run," Marte said through an interpreter after his solo homer to left gave the Pirates an incredible 2-1 win in a game that lasted five hours and 48 minutes.

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Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Glasnow among top prospect performers Monday

Braves' No. 1 prospect knocks in four runs, No. 2 hurls six scoreless

Glasnow among top prospect performers Monday

The future of the Atlanta Braves was on full display on Monday as Dansby Swanson tallied a career-best four RBIs and Sean Newcomb fired six scoreless frames to lead Double-A Mississippi in a 5-0 shutout over Jackson.

After hitting his second inside-the-park home run of the season on Friday, Swanson, the Braves' top-ranked prospect, cranked a two-run shot over the left field wall on Monday, giving him two home runs in his last three games for the M-Braves. The No. 6 overall prospect added a two-run single to finish 2-for-4 with four RBIs.

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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.

Pirates could boost present, future via trades

Pirates could boost present, future via trades

WASHINGTON -- With the Pirates scuffling a bit but within striking distance of a National League Wild Card berth, general manager Neal Huntington has some big decisions to make before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

On Sunday, Huntington said the team is exploring potential trades that could help a postseason push while also keeping an open mind about deals to improve the franchise's future.

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Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Family ties: Pirates' dads visit on annual trip

Family ties: Pirates' dads visit on annual trip

WASHINGTON -- Ever since the 1979 Pirates rallied around the Sister Sledge song "We Are Family" on their way to a World Series title, family ties have run deep in Pittsburgh. Maybe that's why the organization has so fervently embraced manager Clint Hurdle's four-year tradition of hosting all his staff and players' fathers for a three-game series during a midsummer trip to a road city.

This weekend, 18 Pirates dads -- of players, coaches, training staff and more -- joined the team for the series in Washington, coming together for a team dinner, spending time in the clubhouse and wearing their custom-made gold Pirates jerseys.

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Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prospect turns DP while falling onto his back

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Prospect turns DP while falling onto his back

The West Virginia Black Bears, Class A short-season affiliate of the Pirates, turned the double play below during their 6-5 win over the Auburn Doubledays on Saturday night. But once you watch it, it becomes clear that it actually belongs in some sort of Harlem Globetrotters-esque baseball performance troupe.

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