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Errors starting to pile up

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CHICAGO — The Pirates remain on track to set a franchise record for fewest errors in a season — but they’ve been putting it to test the past couple of days.

Monday, the Pirates made two errors against the Dodgers. Yesterday, they made a season-high three blunders over the first four innings against the Cubs. For the season, the Pirates have committed 73 errors, 10 less than the team record set in 2007.

Last night, pitcher Kevin Hart dropped a toss at first base, and shortstop Luis Cruz and second baseman Delwyn Young each flubbed a grounder. Cruz started his sixth straight game in place of Ronny Cedeno, who has sore hamstrings.

“We’ve got to be strong up the middle,” manager John Russell said. “It’s unfortunate that Ronny is out right now. He was making good progress.”

Young is on the bench for this afternoon’s game, as Brian Bixler will start at second base. Young has worked hard to make the transition to second base, but still is far from smooth and relaxed at the position. Cruz, who will start the first game of today’s doubleheader, is a utilityman. More roster and/or position changes might be necessary this offseason.

“We’ll look at it,” Russell said.

— Last night, Kevin Hart (4-9) gave up six runs on six hits and four walks. He struck out five. “If we make some plays, it’s a lot different linescore for (Hart),” manager John Russell said. “It’s hard to evaluate how he did, because we (stunk) tonight (defensively).”

Hart, a onetime Cubs prospect, is 1-8 in 10 starts since being traded to the Pirates. He has lost seven straight starts.

“Usually, you have the whole offseason and spring training to work on mechanics,” Hart said. “I’m kind of working on the fly here.”

— The Indians fired manager Eric Wedge this morning. GM Neal Huntington said he will grant permission, if asked, for the Indians or other teams to interview Pirates coaches.

— When September call-ups arrive, things get especially cramped in Wrigley Field’s snug visitor’s clubhouse. The Pirates ran out of locker space, so Anthony Claggett, who was called up Tuesday, is sharing with Neil Walker.

— Hart is 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in two starts against the Cubs, who traded him to the Pirates on July 30.

— Last night, Andy LaRoche had his fourth career two-double game. He’s done it in back-to-back games.

— The Pirates have been shut out 16 times, tops among major league clubs. It’s also the most times they’ve been blanked since 1985 (19 times).

— Follow me on Twitter @RobBiertempfel.

Lineups for this afternoon’s game (first of doubleheader):

PIRATES (59-97)

  1. Andrew McCutchen cf
  2. Andy LaRoche 3b
  3. Garrett Jones rf
  4. Lastings Milledge lf
  5. Steve Pearce 1b
  6. Jason Jaramillo c
  7. Brian Bixler 2b
  8. Luis Cruz ss
  9. Charlie Morton (4-9, 5.01) rhp

CUBS (82-74)

  1. Ryan Theriot ss
  2. Kosuke Fukudome cf
  3. Jeff Baker 3b
  4. Micah Hoffpauir lf
  5. Jake Fox lf
  6. Bobby Scales rf
  7. Geovany Soto c
  8. Andres Blanco 2b
  9. Ted Lilly (12-8, 3.02) lhp
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