Call Cole the Cy Young slayer

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

Call Cole the Cy Young slayer

PITTSBURGH -- Back during Gerrit Cole's 2013 Major League infancy, before he'd established any discernible identity (aside from the celebrity of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft), just to clue in the sort of pitcher they were talking about, some journalists referred to him as "Gerrit Verlander." You know, comfortably in the mid-90s and able to dial it up to triple digits when needed in the later innings.

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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' seventh-inning rally fizzles vs. Wood

Pirates can't cash in after two singles

Bucs' seventh-inning rally fizzles vs. Wood

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates entered the seventh inning down by two runs with the heart of the order coming up against Braves lefty Alex Wood, who'd been all but unhittable in Sunday afternoon's 2-1 loss at PNC Park. Francisco Cervelli formulated a plan in his mind as the inning unfolded.

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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' late rally falls short vs. Braves

Bucs' late rally falls short vs. Braves

PITTSBURGH -- Left-hander Alex Wood quieted the Pirates into the eighth inning on Sunday as the Braves downed Pittsburgh, 2-1, to snap a five-game losing streak.

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

Cutch back, wears elbow guard after HBP

Outfielder goes 1-for-4 with new gear on vs. Braves

Cutch back, wears elbow guard after HBP

PITTSBURGH - Andrew McCutchen put pitchers on guard prior to Sunday's game -- then put a guard on.

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

Bucs shuffle roster as Tabata, Volstad DFA'd

Hernandez, Lombardozzi added to bench

Bucs shuffle roster as Tabata, Volstad DFA'd

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates made a series of roster moves Sunday morning, calling up two outfielders as they balanced out their bench and 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.

Cole aiming to carry road dominance into Detroit

Cole aiming to carry road dominance into Detroit

After missing his last scheduled start, Justin Verlander will return to the mound Tuesday night as the Tigers begin a three-game series against Gerrit Cole and the Pirates at Comerica Park.

Verlander threw a bullpen session Saturday after skipping his last outing due to a stiff back. The right-hander also missed the first 2 1/2 months of the season with a triceps strain, limiting him to only two starts, during which he's allowed eight runs in 11 2/3 innings.

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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 wade through rain, Cutch injury to beat Braves

Bucs wade through rain, Cutch injury to beat Braves

PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Alvarez has only been along the ride for most of the first half of the season, but he may be ready to give the Pirates a lift. Alvarez's two-run double triggered a five-run first on Saturday and the Bucs went on to an 8-4 win over Atlanta at rain-soaked PNC Park.

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

Marte hits, runs, even stands on head in win

Bucs outfielder goes 3-for-4, comes home on double steal, takes stumble at second

Marte hits, runs, even stands on head in win

PITTSBURGH -- As the expression goes, some Pirates might have been thinking between rain delays on Saturday at PNC Park, "I'd stand on my head to help us win." Starling Marte actually did it, though. He provided the lighter side of the Bucs' 8-4 win over Atlanta with a seventh-inning slide that didn't quite go as designed.

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

Morton eats innings, but saves bite for Guerra

Young right-hander debuts after 10 years in Minors

Morton eats innings, but saves bite for Guerra

PITTSBURGH -- After recording only two outs in a disastrous outing last time out, Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton did his best to eat up innings in the Pirates' 8-4 win Saturday at PNC Park. But he saved a special bite for Deolis Guerra.

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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 flips over head while sliding into second base

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Marte flips over head while sliding into second base

You're probably thinking, "That's odd, I assumed that sliding into second base was a fairly simple endeavor, and one that wasn't open to much interpretation." Sure, you could go feet-first or head-first, depending on the situation or personal preference, but that would just be reinforcing the status quo sliding paradigm, man. 

Instead, may we all follow the example of Pirates left fielder Starling Marte, baserunning visionary and proprietor of the finest partays, who turned his attempted steal of second during Saturday's game against the Braves into an opportunity to ... play leap-frog with himself, or something.

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Pitch, Hit & Run championship held at PNC Park

PITTSBURGH -- Morning rain along the Allegheny River didn't ruin the chance of a lifetime for 24 participants in Saturday's Pitch, Hit & Run team championship at PNC Park.

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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.

Hurdle addresses Polanco's baserunning gaffe

Hurdle addresses Polanco's baserunning gaffe

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has seen a lot during his time as a player, coach and manager. But the fourth inning of Pittsburgh's 3-2 win over Atlanta on Friday night presented something entirely new to Hurdle.

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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's walk-off double leads Pirates over Braves

Mercer's walk-off double leads Pirates over Braves

PITTSBURGH -- Jordy Mercer's one-out RBI double in the 10th inning gave the Pirates a 3-2 walk-off win over the Braves on Friday night at PNC Park.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cutch sparks Pirates' game-winning rally

Cutch sparks Pirates' game-winning rally

PITTSBURGH -- Jordy Mercer ended the Pirates' 10th-inning walk-off rally in their 3-2 win over the Braves on Friday night at PNC Park. But it was Andrew McCutchen who got it started.

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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 making a habit of ending slumps in June

Mercer making a habit of ending slumps in June

PITTSBURGH -- Stop us if you have heard this one before: Jordy Mercer lifted the Pirates' spirits and their winning percentage in Friday night's 3-2 win over the Braves with a 10th-inning walk-off RBI double, his third hit of the game and sixth hit of a week that has seen his average reach .225 after being at .192 entering June.

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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.

Liriano settles down for solid game vs. Braves

Liriano settles down for solid game vs. Braves

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano had just walked the bases loaded, then walked the Braves' No. 8 hitter, Ryan Lavarnway. It was only the second inning, but Liriano looked like he might be losing control of the 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.

Worley's worth proving invaluable to Pirates

Worley's worth proving invaluable to Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- One of the most valuable, if also most overlooked, members of the Pirates' 2013 playoff pitching staff was Jeanmar Gomez, who filled all of his roles well. As the long man in the bullpen, Gomez went 2-0 in 26 games with a .235 opponents average. In his spot starts, the Bucs went 8-0.

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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.

Scahill placed on DL with forearm strain

Right-hander Guerra called up from Triple-A Indianapolis

Scahill placed on DL with forearm strain

PITTSBURGH -- After giving up a go-ahead home run to Brandon Phillips in the 13th inning on Thursday, Rob Scahill's night got a little worse. The reliever's right forearm began to tighten up, an injury he's never dealt with before.

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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.

Despite Burnett's effort, 'pen has another long night

Bastardo and Worley thrive, while Caminero and Scahill allow big homers

Despite Burnett's effort, 'pen has another long night

PITTSBURGH -- The "6.0" next to A.J. Burnett's name in the boxscore should have been a good sign for an overworked Pirates bullpen. The veteran right-hander battled through a few long innings, but hung around for most of Thursday night.

Problem was, Thursday night turned into Friday morning with the score still tied at PNC Park. And once again, the Bucs' relief corps wound up working overtime in a 5-4 loss to the Reds.

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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.

Walker's miscue on basepaths looms large

Second baseman doubled off in 12th, stopping key rally

Walker's miscue on basepaths looms large

PITTSBURGH -- It was a slip Pirates fans aren't accustomed to seeing out of seven-year veteran Neil Walker.

But in a 13-inning contest that highlighted any and every detail, Walker's unfortunate break to second base was another missed opportunity PNC Park fans will remember in a 5-4 loss to the Reds on Thursday night.

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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.

Bullpen unable to hold on as Bucs fall in 13

Bullpen unable to hold on as Bucs fall in 13

PITTSBURGH -- About half an hour after their Thursday night game gave way to Friday morning, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips ripped a solo home run to left field off Pirates reliever Rob Scahill, leading Cincinnati to a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh at PNC Park.

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

Pirates' Bell, Diaz tabbed for Futures Game

First baseman makes return trip, while catcher selected for first time

Pirates' Bell, Diaz tabbed for Futures Game

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates prospect Josh Bell is heading back to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, but he won't be going alone this year.

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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 a source of optimism in Pirates dugout

Despite Cardinals' lead, skipper knows it's too early to count out Bucs

Hurdle a source of optimism in Pirates dugout

PITTSBURGH -- The season has not yet reached the All-Star break. The halfway mark lies more than a week away. Yet Pittsburgh is diligently monitoring the standings and watching the out-of-town scoreboard on a daily basis.

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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.

Mechanics betray Cole vs. nemesis Reds

Pirates starter unable to make it out of the fifth for the first time since June 2014

Mechanics betray Cole vs. nemesis Reds

PITTSBURGH -- Like any other starting pitcher, Gerrit Cole prides himself on pitching deep into games. He's done so effectively throughout the course of his young career, battling through long innings and virtually always finishing at least five innings.

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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 fall quietly on rare off night for Cole

Pirates fall quietly on rare off night for Cole

PITTSBURGH -- The Reds jumped out to an early lead against Gerrit Cole, and Mike Leake continued his mastery over the Pirates as Cincinnati beat Pittsburgh, 5-2, on Wednesday night at PNC Park.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Replay prompts Bucs to adjust slide technique

Polanco forcing challenges by popping off bases; club seeking more conservative approach

Replay prompts Bucs to adjust slide technique

PITTSBURGH -- Gregory Polanco has been at the center of three replay challenges initiated by the Reds on his slides into second base during this series -- two of them were overturned Tuesday night, and he got one to go his way in the Pirates' 5-2 loss Wednesday.

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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.

Glasnow shines in second rehab start

Pirates No. 1 prospect allows 1 hit in 4 innings for Class A Short Season West Virginia

Glasnow shines in second rehab start

Consider this the "real" return of Tyler Glasnow.

Pittsburgh's No. 1 prospect (No. 10 overall) made his second rehab start since spraining his ankle on May 17, giving up one hit and one unearned run while striking out four batters in four innings of work for Class A Short Season West Virginia. That start followed a bit of a rough outing on June 19, when Glasnow surrendered three runs (two earned) in 1 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.