Unlucky 13th stings Bucs on wild night at Wrigley

Unlucky 13th stings Bucs on wild night at Wrigley

CHICAGO -- For five hours, Miguel Montero sat on the Cubs bench, watching a seesaw battle against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. The veteran catcher has been relegated to a backup role with the emergence of rookie Willson Contreras, but Montero showed his expertise in the 13th inning.

Anthony Rizzo delivered a game-tying RBI single in the 13th and Montero followed with the game-winning hit, a walk-off RBI single to lift the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the Pirates in a game that began Monday night and stretched into Tuesday morning.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

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.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Bucs making push with 'next guy up' mentality

Bucs making push with 'next guy up' mentality

CHICAGO -- On the day they lost a 13-inning thriller to the division-rival Cubs, the Pirates also placed staff ace Gerrit Cole on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Such adversity has been a staple of their season. Would you believe the Bucs now have zero active starters who were in their season-opening starting five?

It has been a lost year for Cole, a down year for Andrew McCutchen, a year in which the Pirates dealt their Opening Day starter, Francisco Liriano, and their dependable closer, Mark Melancon, at the Trade Deadline and a year that has been more about transition than triumph.

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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.

Pirates twice snub Cubs' Baez at plate

Double play in 10th stands after review; Marte's rocket throw ends 12th

Pirates twice snub Cubs' Baez at plate

CHICAGO -- The Pirates couldn't keep the Cubs away from home plate all night, not after both clock hands on the Wrigley Field scoreboard pointed straight up and Monday gave way to Tuesday. But for a while, it seemed like they might.

Twice in extra innings, Pittsburgh managed to keep Javier Baez from scoring what would have been the game-winning run on a play at the plate. But it wasn't enough, as the Cubs eventually stormed back to win, 8-7, in 13 innings.

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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.

Polanco, Bell hit oppo shots against Arrieta

Polanco, Bell hit oppo shots against Arrieta

CHICAGO -- Manager Clint Hurdle often repeats one of the Pirates' principal hitting philosophies, something taught throughout the Minor League level and encouraged in the Majors. It sounds simple, but it's proven to be easier said than done. Hit the ball hard where it's pitched.

Josh Bell and Gregory Polanco did just that Monday night, giving the Pirates a chance against nemesis Jake Arrieta in a game the Cubs rallied to win, 8-7, in 13 innings.

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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 put Cole on DL with elbow inflammation

Pirates ace eligible to return Sept. 9; Brault recalled

Bucs put Cole on DL with elbow inflammation

CHICAGO -- The Pirates will begin the final month of the regular season without their ace.

Gerrit Cole was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday due to posterior inflammation in his right elbow, the club announced. The assignment was made retroactive to Thursday, so Cole is eligible to return on Sept. 9.

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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.

Kuhl faces tough matchup in Cubs' Hendricks

Kuhl faces tough matchup in Cubs' Hendricks

Right-hander Kyle Hendricks doesn't have the track record of Madison Bumgarner, the imposing stature and memorable nickname of Noah "Thor" Syndergaard or the no-hit stuff of Cubs teammate Jake Arrieta. But Hendricks holds a title none of those aces can claim: Major League ERA leader.

Nearing the end of a remarkably consistent season, Hendricks will enter Tuesday night's matchup with the Pirates carrying a 2.19 ERA. Hendricks will scale the mound at Wrigley Field opposite Pirates rookie Chad Kuhl in an MLB Network Showcase game and MLB Plus broadcast on MLB.com. The Cubs have a seemingly insurmountable lead in the National League Central, while the Pirates are battling for an NL Wild Card spot.

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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 see rally thwarted with odd rundown

Cubs turn 1-5-2-6-1 rundown on result confirmed by replay

Pirates see rally thwarted with odd rundown

CHICAGO -- The Pirates saw a rare scoring opportunity against Jake Arrieta go to waste on an unusual rundown in the fifth inning Monday night at Wrigley Field in a game the Cubs rallied to win, 8-7, in 13 innings.

Starling Marte slapped a leadoff single to right field off Arrieta then stole second base, his 45th steal of the season. Cubs catcher Willson Contreras' errant throw sailed into center field, allowing Marte to scramble all the way to third.

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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.

Kang sent to Indianapolis for continued rehab

Pirates Notebook: Glasnow activated, sent to Triple-A; Kingham sharp at Double-A

Kang sent to Indianapolis for continued rehab

CHICAGO -- Third baseman Jung Ho Kang flew with the Pirates from Milwaukee to Chicago, but he won't be working out at Wrigley Field this week.

Kang traveled Monday to Indianapolis, where he will continue his rehab workouts with the Pirates' Triple-A club. Kang is on the 15-day disabled list with an injured left shoulder, and he is not eligible to return until Sunday at the earliest.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Bullpen helping Bucs in Wild Card chase

Bullpen helping Bucs in Wild Card chase

MILWAUKEE -- The Pirates turned their Miller Park experience all the way around; from consistent defeat to daily victory.

After losing nine straight here, not to mention 64 of 81 over the past 10 seasons, the Bucs swept a four-game series, finishing the job with a 3-1 victory on Sunday. In the process, they moved to one-half game back of the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card berth.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nova superb in fourth Bucs victory

Starter allowed one run over six frames, exited due to hamstring discomfort

Nova superb in fourth Bucs victory

MILWAUKEE -- A change of scenery -- and a move to the National League -- has done Ivan Nova a world of good.

Before exiting with left hamstring discomfort, Nova threw six strong innings to help the Pirates move to one-half game back of the Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card spot by completing a four-game sweep of the Brewers with a 3-1 victory Sunday.

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Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen of the Week: 'Pen has Bucs knocking

Pirates relievers push team to NL Wild Card doorstep

Bullpen of the Week: 'Pen has Bucs knocking

When Pirates closer Mark Melancon was traded to the Nationals nearly a month ago, Bucs fans could be forgiven for worrying if the remaining members of the team's bullpen would be able to adjust over the stretch run.

So far, so good. The Bucs have gone 15-10 in August, including 5-2 over the past week, and are on a Major League-high four-game winning streak heading into Monday's action. The Pirates are just a half-game behind the Cardinals in the chase for the last National League Wild Card spot as they begin a big series against the Cubs tonight in Chicago.

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Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs sweep Crew, pull within half-game of WC

Bucs sweep Crew, pull within half-game of WC

MILWAUKEE -- Right on schedule, here come the Pirates.

John Jaso and Gregory Polanco hit solo home runs in a go-ahead sixth inning Sunday, and Starling Marte added an insurance shot in the eighth as Ivan Nova and charging Pittsburgh finished a four-game sweep of Milwaukee with a 3-1 win at Miller Park.

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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.

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Pirates on Sunday.

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

Pirates bolster bullpen, recall righty Schugel

Infielder Frazier optioned to rookie-level Bristol

Pirates bolster bullpen, recall righty Schugel

MILWAUKEE -- The Pittsburgh Pirates added an extra bullpen arm prior to Sunday's game in Milwaukee, recalling right-hander A.J. Schugel from Triple-A Indianapolis.

To clear room for Schugel, infielder Adam Frazier was optioned to rookie-level Bristol.

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Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Bauman: Pirates step up amid Cole news

Bauman: Pirates step up amid Cole news

MILWAUKEE -- Ordinarily, a three-game winning streak for the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park would be cause for unrestrained rejoicing.

The Pirates on Saturday night won their third straight in Milwaukee; a 9-6 victory over the Brewers that included a comeback from a four-run deficit. But another development made this a less than ecstatic evening for the Bucs.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs keep it in the park, outslug Crew in win

Bucs keep it in the park, outslug Crew in win

MILWAUKEE -- In a game of big innings, it was the Pirates who hung the last crooked number on the scoreboard Saturday night.

Gregory Polanco came off the bench to hit a tiebreaking, three-run double in the sixth for a 9-6 win over the Brewers at Miller Park, where Pirates starter Jameson Taillon was not the only pitcher to struggle. He surrendered five earned runs in three innings for his worst start this season, but six different Pirates batters drove in at least one run as Pittsburgh pulled to within 1 1/2 games of St. Louis in the race for the second National League Wild Card.

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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.

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Pirates on Saturday.

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

Polanco's pinch-hit 2B snaps skid at Miller Park

Polanco's pinch-hit 2B snaps skid at Miller Park

MILWAUKEE -- Miller Park has been a house of horrors for many of Pittsburgh's top hitters, including Gregory Polanco.

Given a blow from the starting lineup Saturday after consecutive 0-for-5 games dropped his career batting average to .138 (8-for-58) in Milwaukee, Polanco delivered a pinch-hit, bases-clearing double in the sixth inning to lift the Pirates to a 9-6 win.

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Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Taillon on Perez: 'He's a Latin Babe Ruth'

Brewers' slugger now 5-for-7 with 3 HRs against Pirates' pitcher

Taillon on Perez: 'He's a Latin Babe Ruth'

MILWAUKEE -- "He's a Latin Babe Ruth or something like that," Pirates rookie Jameson Taillon said of the Brewers' Hernan Perez, laughing about a respectful rivalry that has swung wildly of late in the Nuevo Bambino's favor.

Perez homered twice and drove in four runs against Taillon in the first three innings of the Pirates' 9-6 win over the Brewers at Miller Park on Saturday. The Pirates rallied back from a 5-1 deficit to win the game, but not before Perez improved to 5-for-7 in the Majors against Taillon with three home runs.

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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.

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Pirates on Saturday.

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

On eve of birthday, Bucs' Mercer hits 1st slam

Shortstop breaks game open with blast in five-run sixth

On eve of birthday, Bucs' Mercer hits 1st slam

MILWAUKEE -- Before Friday's game against the Brewers, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle directed a short lesson on two-strike hitting to reporters gathered in his office. Shortstop Jordy Mercer was not in attendance, but he must have gotten the lecture notes from somebody.

Mercer launched his first career grand slam on an 0-2 slider against Matt Garza to vault the Pirates to a five-run lead in an eventual 5-3 win at Miller Park.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Vogelsong rewriting ending to Pirates career

Vogelsong rewriting ending to Pirates career

MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Vogelsong, coming back from his latest bout of adversity, continues to provide baseball with an uplifting story. More to the current point, he is providing the Pittsburgh Pirates with outs.

Vogelsong was the winning pitcher Friday night as the Pirates defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-3. Over 5 1/3 innings, Vogelsong gave up two runs, both of which scored after he left the game. The Pirates, who had lost nine straight at Miller Park, have now won two in a row in Milwaukee.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hurdle once had to comfort Pirate about hotel ghost

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Hurdle once had to comfort Pirate about hotel ghost

Heading into Thursday night's game against the Brewers, the Pirates had lost nine straight at Miller Park. Plenty of reasons were given for the skid: the difficulty of winning on the road against a division rival, the flukiness of a nine-game sample, the magic of Hank the Ballpark Pup.

But perhaps we've been looking in the wrong place. Perhaps such an improbable streak is the work of something ... supernatural. Every time the Pirates come to Milwaukee, it turns out, they stay in the legendary Pfister Hotel -- one of the most famous hotels in America and, according to legend, also one of the most haunted

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On Mercer's slam, Bucs keep pace in WC race

On Mercer's slam, Bucs keep pace in WC race

MILWAUKEE -- Jordy Mercer's first career grand slam pushed the Pirates to the brink of something even rarer: A series win at Miller Park.

Mercer's slam off Matt Garza capped a five-run sixth that began with back-to-back errors by Brewers third baseman Jonathan Villar. Top Milwaukee prospect Orlando Arcia answered with a three-run shot in the bottom of the inning -- his first career home run -- but the Pirates held on, 5-3, for their second win in as many nights to open this four-game series.

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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.

Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

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

Pirates' playoff run receiving boost from Cutch

Former NL MVP squaring ball up again, driving it to right, center

Pirates' playoff run receiving boost from Cutch

MILWAUKEE -- As the Pirates gear up for a playoff push, they may be getting a return to form from Andrew McCutchen.

If Thursday's game against the Brewers was any indication, the Pirates could be getting the McCutchen of the past seven years. McCutchen homered and laced two singles to the right side of second base, including his 10th-inning game-winning hit 105.6 mph off the bat, according to Statcast™.

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

Kuhl stays cool vs. Crew, continues strong '16

Right-hander allows two runs over 6 1/3 against the Brewers

Kuhl stays cool vs. Crew, continues strong '16

MILWAUKEE -- The puns are there to be had -- he's a Kuhl customer, Kuhl under pressure and so on -- but starter Chad Kuhl's performance in the Pirates' 3-2 win on Thursday against the Brewers was no joke.

Making his eighth big league start, Kuhl kept Milwaukee's offense under control through 6 1/3 innings until eventually cracking, as he led the Pirates to just their 18th win in their last 82 games at Miller Park. With the Cardinals falling to the Mets, Pittsburgh drew within 2 1/2 games of the second Wild Card spot, as well.

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

McCutchen's 3 RBIs lead Bucs to win in extras

McCutchen's 3 RBIs lead Bucs to win in extras

MILWAUKEE -- It was Andrew McCutchen 3, Milwaukee Brewers 2 in 10 innings at Miller Park.

McCutchen delivered three run-scoring hits to account for every Pirates run in a 3-2 win over the Brewers on Thursday, bookending the night with a solo home run in the first inning and a tiebreaking two-out single in the 10th. McCutchen's 10th-inning hit off Brewers reliever Carlos Torres scored John Jaso, who sparked Pittsburgh's winning rally with a pinch-hit single.

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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.

Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Pirates not haunted by Miller Park struggles

Pittsburgh snaps 9-game slide in Milwaukee with 10-inning victory

Pirates not haunted by Miller Park struggles

MILWAUKEE -- It had become imperative for the Pittsburgh Pirates to figure out a way to win at Miller Park.

On Thursday night, the Pirates solved the riddle with a 3-2, 10-inning victory over the Brewers, snapping a nine-game losing streak at Miller Park. But this result required several elements -- a commendable start by rookie Chad Kuhl, clutch hitting by center fielder Andrew McCutchen and scoreless work from four relievers.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bell making strides on defensive side

Kang begins basic baseball activities; Glasnow could return Saturday

Bell making strides on defensive side

PITTSBURGH -- Josh Bell started at first base for the fourth straight game in Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Astros, reinforcing the Pirates' suggestion that he will play more often than not after being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday.

So don't be surprised if Bell keeps starting games down the stretch. And don't be surprised if the slugging prospect doesn't finish many of those games at first base, either.

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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.

Keller among top prospect performers Wednesday

Red Sox flamethrower notches 10 K's with career-high seven frames

Keller among top prospect performers Wednesday

Michael Kopech may be the hottest pitcher in all of Minor League Baseball these days as he continues to shut down opposing lineups with a plethora of strikeouts.

The 20-year-old was on fire once again Wednesday, leading Class A Advanced Salem to a 9-1 win over Potomac.

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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.

Polanco's 2-HR game leads lineup breakout

Pirates right fielder also in the middle of 6 straight hits to open 4-run first

Polanco's 2-HR game leads lineup breakout

PITTSBURGH -- Four out of every five days, every time he's not starting, Ivan Nova finds Gregory Polanco in the dugout to ask a simple question: "Hey, when are you going to hit a homer?" To which Polanco politely replies, "One day. One day, I will."

One day came Tuesday, and Polanco went deep twice for Nova. Not just to satisfy his daily query, but to support the starter's complete-game gem, snap Pittsburgh's offensive slump and lead the Pirates to a 7-1 win over the Astros 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.