Game 30: LeBlanc continues to impress

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Story and video by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

LeBlanc2017It was a relatively quick look that the Pirates got at Wade LeBlanc last season. The lefty appeared in just eight games after being acquired from the Mariners in September, but LeBlanc showed enough to impress manager Clint Hurdle.

“In the 12 innings that he pitched, he gave us a nice shot in the arm when we were treading water,” Hurdle said. “He had a couple multi-inning appearances. We put him in a leverage situation in Milwaukee one night. He’s got a slow heartbeat. Man has no ego. He’s a survivor. He’s very diligent and conscientious. I like the man, I like the skill set. He’s a guy who’s been around. He doesn’t try to overthink things. He’s just looking for an opportunity to pitch and believes he can make a difference on the mound.”

LeBlanc, 32, made his big league debut in 2008 as a starter for the Padres. In 2012, when he was with the Marlins, LeBlanc worked as a part-time reliever. The Pirates are the first team to use him full-time out of the bullpen in the majors. The Pirates brought LeBlanc back for $750,000 this season. The deal includes a $1.25 million club option for 2018 or a $50,000 buyout.

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Pirates 4, Brewers 0: Wade LeBlanc tosses three scoreless innings and comes up with a big hit, too.

Notebook: In which Jared Hughes says “Hello” to Pittsburgh, the Pirates say “Stick around” to Elias Diaz, and Hurdle says he admires Eric Thames’ perseverance.

ClementeRing

Want to wear Roberto Clemente’s snazzy suit? How about his 1971 World Series ring? You can buy them at the All-Star FanFest auction.

>>> Last night’s game drew 21,129 (paid attendance, that is). Perhaps I should have been more specific and asked if any game would draw more than 20K in actual, physical butts in the seats.

>>> Saturday: Brewers at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Brewers (15-15): Jonathan Villar 4, Eric Thames 3, Hernan Perez 6, Travis Shaw 5, Doingo Santana 9, Manny Pina 2, Nick Franklin 7, Keon Broxton 8, RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 3.38) 1

Pirates (13-16): Josh Harrison 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, Francisco Cervelli 2, John Jaso 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Gift Ngoepe 4, RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.50) 1

Gamecast: Garza began the season on the 10-day DL due to a strained right groin. … In 13 career starts vs. the Pirates, Garza is 3-6 with a 4.43 ERA. … Brewers RHP Corey Knebel registered at least one strikeout in each of his first 15 appearances (14.1 IP, 19 K). He went into this series as the only reliever in the majors with at least one whiff in every outings (minimum 10 games). … Cole has dropped each of his past two decisions since beating the Cubs on April 14 at Wrigley Field. He has gotten one run of support or less in three of his six starts. Cole has yielded three earned runs in 13.0 IP at PNC Park this year. … Andrew McCutchen continues to see a lot of sliders. Per Statcast, he’s batting .200 with a .305 slugging percentage against sliders, with one home run and 79 whiffs on 520 pitches. He’s batting .407 on all pitches that are middle-away, but .263 on those that are up-away and .256 on down-away.

>>> Sunday: Brewers at Pirates, 1:35 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (2-2, 6.07) vs. Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-1, 6.97)

>>> Monday: Pirates at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-1, 3.31) vs. Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (2-0, 3.28)

>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.14) vs. Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (0-0, 0.84)

>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 5.54) vs. Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (2-2, 5.81)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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