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Game 66: And the draft slogged on …

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Story and video by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

Cup2017As the Penguins paraded the Stanley Cup through the downtown streets — again — the Pirates today were in the midst of the final day of the MLB draft. Yeah, I know. Chills.

>>>  RHP Cody Bolton, the sixth-round pick (178th overall) out of Tracy High, has passed up a scholarship from the University of Michigan and signed his contract, according to his hometown newspaper’s website. The bonus amount is not yet available, but the slot amount for that pick was $255,900.

>>> RHP Matt Fawley was sent to the Yankees to complete the April 17 trade that brought reliever Johnny Barbato to Pittsburgh. Frawley was a 17th-round pick last year. He went 3-1 with three saves and a 1.62 ERA in 19 outings with  Low-A Charleston, W.Va.,

>>> Over his past 10 starts with Triple-A Indianapolis, RHP Drew Hutchison is 3-1 with a 3.30 ERA. Last night, he was the winner in a 7-3 victory against Norfolk. He tossed a season-high seven innings and gave up three runs on six hits. The fourth inning was tough — he plunked a batter, walked two and served up a three-run triple — then retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.

>>> UPDATE 5:17 PMFrancisco Cervelli was activated off the 10-day concussion DL. A.J. Schugel was optioned back to Indy. Manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates will carry three catchers today “just in case.” If Cervelli has no issues tonight, either Elias Diaz or Jacob Stallings likely will go to Indy after the off day Thursday — it’s a question of whether Diaz would be better served acting as a backup in the majors or playing every day at Indy. “It’s an ongoing conversation,” Hurdle said.

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Pirates 5, Rockies 2: Cutch goes deep twice, Cole goes seven strong.

Notebook: In which Elias Diaz gets comfy, plus a review of day two of the draft.

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

Rockies (41-26): Charlie Blackmon 8, DJ LeMahieu 4, Nolan Arenado 5, Mark Reynolds 3, Ian Desmond 7, Raimel Tapia 9, Trevor Story 6, Tony Wolters 2, RHP German Marquez (4-3, 4.44)

Pirates (30-35): Adam Frazier 4, Josh Harrison 5, Gregory Polanco 9, John Jaso 7, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Francisco Cervelli 2, Max Moroff 6, Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 5.63)

>>> Thursday: Off

>>> Friday, Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Cubs: RHP Eddie Butler (3-2, 4.03) Pirates: Pirates RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.13)

>>> Saturday, Cubs at Pirates, 8:15 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Fox. Radio: 93.7 FM.  Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (6-4, 4.68) Pirates: Pirates RHP Ivan Nova (6-4, 2.83)

>>> Sunday, Cubs at Pirates, 1:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Cubs: RHP John Lackey (4-7, 5.26) Pirates: Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon (3-1, 2.90)

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

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Game 64: Quick, to the Batmobile!

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Story by Rob Biertempfel

Batman2In their game notes today, the Colorado Rockies paid tribute to the late Adam West. The subheads of each item have a Batman theme.

From the “To the Batcave” section … According to the Elias Sports Bureau, “Friday’s win was the 40th of the season for Colorado, which reached the 40-victory mark ahead of every other National League team for the first time in the team’s 25-year history.”

From “Turbines to speed” … Colorado outscored opponents 50-11 during the seven-game win streak. The Rockies hit .305 (75 for 246), including .343 (23 for 67) with runners in scoring position.

“Holy travel agent!” …. Colorado has nine home games in June. Beginning May 31 at Seattle, the Rockies started a current stretch of 12 of 14 away from Denver (May31-June 14).

>>> UPDATE 5:04 PM — Jameson Taillon was activated off the DL and will start tonight. INF Phil Gosselin was optioned back to Triple-A Indy. I’ve always said I have the smartest followers in the Twitterverse …

>>> Neither team has announced details yet, but it appears the Penguins will attend Tuesday’s Pirates game against the Rockies. The Stanley Cup will be on display at PNC Park.

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Pirates 3, Marlins 1: Diaz always had a good arm. He’s doubly dangerous if he can hit, too.

Notebook: In which Kuhl evolves, Santana debuts and Polanco needs more barrel

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

Rockies (41-24): Charlie Blackmon 8, DJ LeMahieu 4, Nolan Arenado 5, Mark Reynolds 3, Carlos Gonzalez 9, Ian Desmond 7, Trevor Story 6, Tony Wolters 2, LHP Kyle Freeland (7-3, 3.34)

Pirates (28-35): Max Moroff 4, Josh Harrison 7, Gregory Polanco 9, David Freese 5, Jose Osuna 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Elias Dias 2, Jordy Mercer 6, RHP Jameson Taillon (2-1, 3.31)

Gamecast: Taillon has never faced the Rockies. …. ESPN analyst Buster Olney had a valid point when he called Rockies closer Greg Holland “the best free-agent signing of the offseason.” Holland has made good on all 23 save chances (through Saturday) and had given up 10 hits in 23.2 innings. …. At their current paces, Charlie Blackmon and Mark Reynolds each will collect 134 RBI and Nolan Arenado would get 116. It’s no surprise that the Rockies lead the NL in runs scored.

>>> Tuesday, Rockies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Rockies: RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 4.37) Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (3-6, 4.83)

>>> Wednesday, Rockies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Rockies: RHP German Marquez (4-3, 4.44) Pirates: Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 5.63)

>>> Thursday: Off

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

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Game 63: Uncork for a Cause with Cole

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Story by Rob Biertempfel

Gerrit and Amy Cole’s 2017 Uncork for a Cause will be held from 7-9 tonight at Sienna Mercato (942 Penn Avenue). Proceeds will benefit Pirates Charities and The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh. The even includes dinner, beer and wine (of course) and an auction. It also marks the release of Cole’s 2014 Sonoma Reserve red wine. Only two barrels of this limited-edition blend were bottled for Gerrit’s charity program.

“Food and wine have always been a part of my family’s culture,” Cole said. “It was always spaghetti and meatballs on Christmas with Grandma’s lasagna and everybody has a glass of red wine. Same thing with Thanksgiving. My Dad really got into it the last 10 years or so. He got his level one sommelier certificate. He’s into food and wine pairings, so he’s a good guy to ask questions (about it). Sometimes, on the road, I send him pictures of wine lists and he gives me advice.”

Wanna buy tickets? Click this link.

>>> Jeff Locke this afternoon will make his second start since coming off the DL (biceps tendinitis). The lefty is enjoying Miami — “If I roll out of my bedroom window, I’d land on the beach,” Locke said — and his new team: “This is a great group of guys. There are so many similarities to the (Pirates). A good core group, a lot of guys eager to learn and get better.”

The Marlins signed Locke to a one-year, $3.025M deal and offered him a chance to start. “That’s a big reason why I wanted to be here, the opportunity to stick in the rotation,” Locke said. “I really like the club over here the last couple of years; they’ve been very competitive. I think there are so many similarities between the team I’m on now and the team here in the past before it got really good. It’s so close. If a few things go a different way, a few more wins, and we’ve got a really, really good ballclub here. Eddie (Volquez) was big, for me, knowing he was here. I was really excited to be reunited with him. I was rehabbing in Jupiter and all of the sudden I walked by Vance (Worley) one day. ‘What are you doing here?’ I thought he was still with the Nationals. Now, we’re up here at the same time. It brings back some memories. None of us had been back to Pittsburgh since (leaving) and now we’re all here together.”

>>> Clint Hurdle‘s take on facing Locke today: “We hope to chase him early, then wish him well the rest of the season.”

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Pirates 7, Marlins 6: The bottom of the lineup generates a lot of offense and Rivero protects the lead

Notebook: In which Glasnow is demoted, Taillion preps for his return and Locke sees old friends

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

Marlins (27-34):  JT Riddle 6, JT Realmuto 2, Christian Yelich 8, Marcell Ozuna 7, Derek Dietrich 5, Tyler Moore 3, Ichiro Suzuki 9, Christian Colon 4, LHP Jeff Locke (0-1, 3.48)

Pirates (27-35): Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Jose Osuna 9, David Freese 5, Elias Diaz 2, Andrew McCutchen 8, Josh Bell 3, Jordy Mercer 6, RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.04)

Gamecast: Nova’s lone career start vs the Marlins was memorable. On April 29, he needed just 95 pitches to complete a three-hit shutout. … Nova has allowed more than three earned runs in two of his 12 starts this year. … The Marlins franchise record for most doubles in a game is eight. It’s happened four times, most recently vs. the Pirates on April 21, 2008. … JT Realmuto’s .363 batting average in road games is fifth-best in the majors. He’s gotten at least one hit in 23 of 26 road games and had a 15-game road hitting streak snapped on May 24 at Oakland. … Marcell Ozuna has been a streaky hitter. He batted .325 with 11 homers and 29 RBI over the first 32 games this year. Over the next 14 games, he slumped to .240 with no homers and four RBI. Over the next 14 games, Ozuna hit .407 with four home runs and eight RBI.

>>> Monday, Rockies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (7-3, 3.34) Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-1, 3.31)

>>> Tuesday, Rockies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Rockies: RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 4.37) Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (3-6, 4.83)

>>> Wednesday, Rockies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Rockies: RHP German Marquez (4-3, 4.44) Pirates: Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 5.63)

>>> Thursday: Off

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

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Game 62: Santana should help, but improved rotation would be better

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Story and video by Rob Biertempfel

Reliever Edgar Santana will be called up today, according to a Tweet from his agency. In 23 games at Triple-A Indianapolis, he went 1-1 with five saves, a 1.93 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. He also averaged 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.


Santana’s arrival should boost the work-weary bullpen, which had to pick up five innings last night. You know what else would help the pen? Better starting pitching performances. “There’s been some solid volume of work, but we seem to be in a lull right now,” manager Clint Hurdle said after last night’s game. “We’re taxing the bullpen with the short starts. Williams and Nova have given us distance. Even with Kuhl’s outing the other day, it was five innings and 90-something pitches. Cole’s had two fives and two fours-pluses. That part of it has been hard right now.”

>>> UPDATE 1:45 PM -- Tyler Glasnow today was demoted to Triple-A Indy. Over 12 starts, Glasnow went 2-6 with a 7.45 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP. He issued a team-high 29 walks in 54 1/3 innings. “There’s been games when he’s been dominant and there’s been games when he’s been barreled,” Hurdle said. “It’s all part of the learning process.”

Glasnow’s departure opens a rotation spot for Jameson Taillon, who will be activated off the disabled list on Monday to pitch against the Rockies. That start will come exactly five weeks after Glasnow had surgery for testicular cancer.

Reliever Dovydas Neverauskas also was demoted to Indy. The Pirates are expected to call up  Santana and A.J. Schugel. The club also will have to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Santana. Neither of those moves have yet been announced by the team.

Chad Kuhl’s next start will be pushed back to Wednesday. He originally was slated to start on Monday.

>>> UPDATE 2:15 PM – Santana and Schugel have officially been added to the team. RHP Pat Light was designated for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot for Santana. It’s likely either Santana or Schugel will return to Indy on Monday when Taillon comes off DL.

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Marlins 12, Pirates 7: The less said, the better.

Notebook: Watson’s the closer. Maybe he’s not. Yes, he is. No, he’s not.

>>> Saturday: Marlins at Pirates, 4:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Marlins (27-33): Dee Gordon 4, Giancarlo Stanton 9, Christian Yelich 8, Marcell Ozuna 7, JT Realmuto 2, Derek Dietrich 5, Tyler Moore 3, JT Riddle 6, RHP Dan Straily (4-4, 3.59)

Pirates (26-35): Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Gregory Polanco 9, David Freese 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Elias Diaz 2, Jordy Mercer 6, RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 4.57)

Gamecast: In 13 games at PNC Park, OF Christian Yelich has hit .385 (20 for 52), with five homers and 10 RBI. His career average here is the fourth-highest among active visiting players (minimum 50 at-bats) behind Kris Bryant (.427), Chris Carter (.386) and Adrian Beltre (.386). … The Marlins went into Friday’s game with a .273 batting average on the road, the best mark in the NL and second-best in the majors behind the Astros (.291). … The Marlins have hit .342 this year with the bases loaded, the fourth-highest mark in MLB. … In one career start vs. the Pirates, Straily gave up three runs on four hits in 5.1 IP. … Trevor Williams’ lone outing vs. the Marlins was a relief appearance on April 30, 2017, in Miami. He allowed one run in two-thirds of an inning.

>>> Sunday: Marlins at Pirates, 1:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Marlins LHP Jeff Locke (0-1, 3.48) Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.04)

>>> Monday, Rockies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (7-3, 3.34) Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon (2-1, 3.31)

>>> Tuesday, Rockies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Rockies: RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 4.37) Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (3-6, 4.83)

>>> Wednesday, Rockies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Rockies: RHP German Marquez (4-3, 4.44) Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 5.63)

>>> Thursday: Off

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

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Game 61: Who leaves rotation: Kuhl, Glasnow, Williams … or Cole?

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Story by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

ColeKneelOne glaring omission from today’s game notes is the list of starting pitcher match-ups for the series against the Rockies. That series begins Monday, which is also the day Jameson Taillon would be in line to make his next appearance, whether it’s with the Pirates or a continuation of his minor league rehab assignment.

There’s a really good chance Taillon will pitch for the Pirates on Monday. The only real question is who goes out of the rotation. Will it be Chad Kuhl, who’s gotten nothing but losses and no-decisions since the first week of the season? Will it be Tyler Glasnow, who’s making progress albeit at a baby-step pace? Will it be Trevor Williams, who opened the season as a long reliever but who also has looked good in his past two outings?

Here’s something to chew on: Will it be Gerrit Cole, who has been awful for much of the past month? You won’t see Cole demoted to Triple-A Indy, but — and this is just speculation at this point — he might end up on the disabled list. His 91 mph fastball would seem to be a big red flag that something is amiss.

>>> Alen Hanson was claimed off waivers by the White Sox.

>>> UPDATE 4:31 p.m. Tony Watson has been taken out of the closer’s role, manager Clint Hurdle said. Watson, who served up two two-run homes and blew saves in spectacular fashion on Tuesday and Wednesday in Baltimore, and will be used in low-leverage situations until he gets past his struggles. “We’re going to unplug Tony from the ninth and try to package some opportunities, similar to what we did with Daniel Hudson,” Hurdle said. “We’ll try to to give him multiple touches during the week, in a perfect world every other day and see how it plays out.”

Felipe Rivero and Juan Nicasio will share the ninth inning duties. “We’re going to use the bullpen to win games,” Hurdle said. “There’s not a closer. Depending on the lineup, depending on the game situation, Felipe could pitch the eighth. He’s going to be in the same role he’s been in. Nicasio’s going to be in the same role he’s been in. One of them will pitch the ninth inning.”

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Marlins 7, Pirates 1: The less said, the better.

Notebook: Clint Hurdle continued to keep everyone in suspense about the bullpen

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

Marlins (26-33): Dee Gordon 4, Giancarlo Stanton 9, Christian Yelich 8, Marcell Ozuna 7, Derek Dietrich 5, Tyler Moore 3, J.T. Riddle 6, A.J. Ellis 2, RHP Vance Worley (0-2, 6.59)

Pirates (26-34): Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Gregopry Polanco 9, David Freese 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Jordy Mercer 6, Jacob Stallings 2, RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-5, 6.97)

>>> Saturday: Marlins at Pirates, 4:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (4-4, 3.59) Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 4.57)

>>> Sunday: Marlins at Pirates, 1:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Marlins LHP Jeff Locke (0-1, 3.48) Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.04)

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

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Game 59: Flip Watson and Rivero? Maybe, but …

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Story by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

WatsonVsYankees2017BALTIMORE — Tony Watson will not be the Pirates’ closer next season. He almost certainly won’t be their closer on Aug. 1. In fact, he might not be their closer anymore as soon as tonight’s game against the Orioles.

Watson blew the save last night in spectacular fashion, serving up Jonathan Schoop’s 423-foot, two-run, game-tying homer. It was the fourth time in the last two weeks that Watson had allowed multiple runs. He’s being hurt by home runs, a problem he had last season after he succeeded Mark Melancon in the ninth-inning role.

Watson will be a free agent this winter. He recently hired Scott Boras as his agent. The Pirates have easier, cheaper options at closer for 2018. That not only guarantees Watson will be gone next year, it means he’s a good bet to be moved by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

So, there’s a chance manager Clint Hurdle could replace Watson tonight with Felipe Rivero, who has better stuff and has been much more successful this season. That would seem to be the correct thing to do for the ninth inning.

But there are other things to consider. Moving Watson into a setup role would diminish his trade value. It also would impact the contract offers he’ll get this winter. Who cares? Other players care — players who closely watch how their peers are treated by management and take it into account when they get free-agent offers from the Pirates.

Yes, moving Rivero to the ninth inning would make the Pirates more bulletproof when it comes to getting those final three outs. But if Watson is scuffling in the ninth, won’t he also scuffle in the seventh or eighth? A blown hold can be just as costly as a blown save.

And, because this is the bottom-line Pirates, you have to consider what making Rivero the closer now would do to his salary structure. Rivero will be first-time arbitration eligible after next season. And he also recently switched agents and hired … Scott Boras. Giving Rivero the closer’s job now could make the 2017 season more palatable, but is also could hasten Rivero’s departure a couple of years down the line.

>>> UPDATE 4:19 pm – After considering alternatives. Watson will remain the closer. “I’ve already given it a lot of thought, and the ball will go to Tony,” Hurdle said. Hurdle huddled with GM Neal Huntington and pitching coach Ray Searage and mulled a switch, but decided to stick with the status quo. “I still believe our best bullpen sets up the way it’s been working.” Hurdle said a mechanical issue has been spotted that, when corrected, will help Watson be more effective.

>>> UPDATED 4:22 pm — Jacob Stallings is here with the team in case Francisco Cervelli ends on the concussion DL. “We’re working through it,” Hurdle said. “Francisco has a history of concussions, and we’re making sure we get all the information and evaluations we can get to make the call that serves him best.”

>>> UPDATE 5:57 pm – Cervelli has been placed on the seven-day concussion DL.

>>> Low-A Charleston, W.Va., had three players chosen for the South Atlantic League all-star game. 2B Trae Arbet, OF Ty Moore, and LHP Cam Vieaux were named to the Northern Division team in the June 20 game.

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Orioles 6, Pirates 5: A lot of things happened, most of them not good, in the late innings.

Notebook: “We could use some more innings out of the starting rotation, truth be told.”

Sid Break said the instant celebration triggered by his slide in the 1992 ALCS might never never be repeated in a postseason game.

>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates (26-32):  Jordy Mercer 6, Josh Harrison 5, Gregory Polanco 9, David Freese DH, Jose Osuna 7, Andrew McCutchen 8, Josh Bell 3, Elias Diaz 2, Max Moroff 4. RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.02)

Orioles (30-26):  Seth Smith 9, Adam Jones 8, Manny Machado 5, Chris Davis 3, Mark Trumbo DH, Jonathan Schoop 4, Hyun Soo Kim 7, JJ Hardy 6, Caleb Joseph 2. LHP Wade Miley (2-3, 2.82)

Gamecast: Miley will be the first left-handed starter other than Arizona’s Robbie Ray (on May 14 and May 30) that the Pirates will face since Patrick Corbin on May 12 in Arizona. … Kuhl has never faced the Orioles. In two career starts vs. AL clubs, he Is 0-0 with a 2.19 ERA. He was in line to get the win on April 13 vs. the Red Sox, but the bullpen gave up three runs in the eighth inning. … Andrew McCutchen went into Tuesday’s game with 498 career extra-base hits. Only seven Pirates collected 500 extra-base hits: Willie Stargell (953), Honus Wagner (865), Paul Waner (852), Roberto Clemente (846), Pie Traynor (593), Max Carey (590) and Dave Parker (524).  

>>> Thursday: Marlins at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Marlins: RHP Edinson Volquez (2-7, 3.79) Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (3-5, 4.27)

>>> Friday: Marlins at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Marlins: RHP Vance Worley (0-2, 6.59) Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-5, 6.97)

>>> Saturday: Marlins at Pirates, 4:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (4-4, 3.59) Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 4.57)

>>> Sunday: Marlins at Pirates, 1:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Marlins LHP Jeff Locke (0-1, 3.48) Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.04)

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

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Game 58: More misfortune for Cole Tucker

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Story by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

TuckerBALTIMORE — Shortstop Cole Tucker is out of action at High-A Bradenton with a fractured right thumb. Farm director Larry Broadway declined to divulge any details about how long Tucker will be out of action: “He was hit by a pitch during batting practice, and is still being evaluated by our physicians, so I don’t have any further information as of today.”

Hey, at least he didn’t call it discomfort.

Tucker was placed on the seven-day disabled list, retroactive to June 3. First baseman Daniel Arribas took Cole’s place on Bradenton’s active roster. In 51 games this year, Tucker hit .271 with a .779 OPS, four home runs and 27 stolen bases.

A first round pick in 2014, Tucker is ranked as the Pirates’ eight-best prospect by Baseball America. He has been hampered by major injuries from the start. He hit .267 in 48 games in rookie ball before having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. In August 2015, Tucker had surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder.

>>> RHP Casey Sadler was sent up to Triple-A Indianapolis when LHP Dan Runzler went on the DL. Sadler had Tommy John surgery in November 2015 and missed all of last season. This year, he made six relief outings with Bradenton and went 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA and a 0.58 WHIP.

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got a link:

Adam Frazier has gone from being a relatively anonymous sixth-round pick to batting leadoff in the majors.

>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates (26-31):Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Gregory Polacno 9, David Freese 5, Josh Bell DH, Andrew McCutchen 8, John Jaso 3, Francisco Cervelli 2, Jordy Mercer 6. RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 2.92)

Orioles (29-26): Seth Smith 9, Adam Jones 8, Manny Machado 5, Mark Trumbo DH, Chris Davis 3, Jonathan Schoop 4, Trey Mancini 7, JJ Hardy 6, Caleb Joseph 2. RHP Kevin Gausman (3-4, 5.92)

Gamecast: Nova notched each of his two complete games this season on the road (April 17 vs. the Cardinals, April 29 vs the Marlins). In his last road start on May 25 at Atlanta, Nova came within two outs of a complete game. Two of Nova’s seven career complete games happened vs. the Orioles when he pitched for the Yankees. … In 138 games vs. American League foes, Andrew McCutchen has hit .302 with 17 home runs and 86 RBI. He is the Pirates’ all-time leader in interleague RBI and is tied for most homers with Pedro Alvarez, Brian Giles and Kevin Young. Cutch has gone deep twice this season vs. AL clubs: April 13 at the Red Sox and on April 22 vs the Yankees at PNC Park.

>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.02) Orioles:  LHP Wade Miley (2-3, 2.82)

>>> Thursday: Marlins at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Marlins: RHP Edinson Volquez (2-7, 3.79) Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (3-5, 4.27)

>>> Friday: Marlins at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Marlins: RHP Vance Worley (0-2, 6.59) Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-5, 6.97)

>>> Saturday: Marlins at Pirates, 4:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (4-4, 3.59) Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 4.57)

>>> Sunday: Marlins at Pirates, 1:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Marlins LHP Jeff Locke () Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova ()

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

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Game 57: Mercer riding streak of multi-hit road games

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Story by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

JordyMercer1NEW YORK — Jordy Mercer is quietly going on a bit of a tear. Mercer last night went 3 for 4, posting his sixth consecutive multi-hit game on the road. During that stretch, he is 14 for 26 (.538).

Over his past 12 games (home and away), Mercer is batting .440 (22 for 50) with five doubles, one triple and three home runs. He’s reached base in 21 of his past 26 games.

And, at the risk of jinxing him … Mercer is riding a streak of 33 games without an error. His last gaffe came on April 26.

Cutch21>>> Eight years ago today, Andrew McCutchen made his Pirates debut at PNC Park. In his first at-bat, McCutchen singled off Mets starter Mike Pelfrey. Cutch finished the day 2 for 3 with an RBI and three runs scored. Since June 4, 2009, McCutchen ranks first among National League players in hits (1,348), extra-base hits (497) and total bases (2,254) and is fourth in RBI (662). “Yes, yes … it’s gone by so fast,” McCutchen said. “It’s been what I imagined. It’s what I expected. I expected to be here, stay here, have some success here. I still haven’t gotten a World Series like I wanted to yet, but we’ve definitely done some things. It’s been a whirlwind. It started off with us being a nobody and now we’re somebody. To be part of that has been really great. So, yeah, it’s been a really good eight years for me. And I’m looking forward to the next eight.”

>>> The Mets have clubbed 12 home runs in give games vs. the Pirates this season. … Eight of Jay Bruce’s 13 home runs have given the Mets the lead. Last night, he hit a solo shot off Tyler Glasnow in the third to break a 2-2 tie. … In 29 games since May 1, Neil Walker is batting .322 (37 for 115), including nine doubles, two triples, five homers and 21 RBI. He’s also batting .361 with four homers and 10 RBI in nine games vs. the Pirates. “More than anything, it’s about winning. I really could (not) care less who we’re playing,” Walker told the New York Post. “I’ve turned the page and most of my family and friends have as well. Yeah, it’s always nice to play well against a former team, I guess, but (it’s not paramount).”

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Mets 4, Pirates 2: Mets hit three dingers off Glasnow, Pirates fail to hit in the clutch

Notebook: Taillon might mark the five-week anniversary of his surgery by starting vs. the Rockies

>>> Sunday: Pirates at Mets, 1:10 p.m., Citi Field, New York. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates (25-31): Aam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, John Jaso 9, David Freese 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Jordy Mercer 6, Francisco Cervelli 2, RHP Trevor Williams (2-3, 5.20)

Mets (24-30): Michael Conforto 7, Asdrubal Cabrera 6, Jay Bruce 9, Neil Walker 4, Lucas Duda 3, Wilmer Flores 5, Curtis Granderson 8, Ttravis d’Arnaud 2, RHP Tyler Pill (0-1, 3.00)

Gamecast: Pill’s father, Michael, pitched in the Pirates farm system from 1977 to 1979. The elder Pill was a second-round pick in 1977, but never made it any higher than Class A ball. … On May 27, when the Pirates beat the Mets, 5-4, in 10 innings, Pill became the sixth reliever in Mets history to lose in his major league debut. He also was the second straight to have it happen in a game at PNC Park (Gonzalez Germen, July 12, 2013). … Pill began this season at Triple-A and did not allow a run over his first 34.1 innings pitched. … Going into Saturday’s game, the Mets led the majors with a .390 on-base percentage with runners in scoring position and ranked third with a .305 batting average with RISP. … Williams has allowed one run in each of his past two starts. Last Monday, he tossed a career-best six innings and got a no-decision. … After this afternoo’s game, the Pirates are taking a train to Baltimore — old-time baseball travel.

>>> Monday: Off day

>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 2.92) Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (3-4, 5.92)

>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.02) Orioles:  LHP Wade Miley (2-3, 2.82)

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

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Game 56: Is Gerrit Cole pentaphobic?

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Story by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Getty Images

ColeMets2017NEW YORK — What is it with Gerrit Cole and the fifth inning? In that inning this season, the right-hander has a 10.12 ERA , a .362 batting average against, a 1.154 OPS against and a .353 BAbip.

On Friday, the Mets torched for five runs in the fifth. The onslaught included a two-run homer by the No. 5 hitter, Lucas Duda. In his previous start, also vs. the Mets, Cole gave up a solo homer to Duda in the fifth inning. On May 22, the Braves put up a three-run fifth inning against Cole.

“It’s been a little bit of an undesirable go of it the last three times,” Cole said. “The fifth just kind of got away from me. The ball was flat, the delivery was a little out of whack, and location and the crispness of the pitches suffered.”

Merson

>>> Elias Diaz drove in six runs Friday in what was his 10th game in the majors. Per Elias Sports Bureau, since 1920 (when RBI were first tracked) only one other Pirate has collected six or more RBI in a game within his first 10 games in the bigs. On Sept. 15, 1951, Jack Merson got six RBI in his second career game. Also, Diaz joined Starlin Castro (2010) and Hunter Renfroe (2016) as the only active players to drive in six or more runs in a game after entering that game with no more than one RBI in the majors.

>>> The Pirates matched a season high by scoring 12 runs on Friday. It’s the fourth time they’ve plated a dozen. Also, the sixth inning marked the third time this year the Pirates scored seven runs in a single frame. They did it in the 10th inning on May 24 at Atlanta and in the second inning on April 28 at Miami.

>>> High-A Bradenton had a record nine players named to the Florida State League all-star team: SS Cole Tucker, RHP Mitch Keller, RHP Dario Agazal, RHP Seth McGarry, RHP Yunior Montero, LHP Jake Brentz, OF Logan Hill, OF Casey Hughston, and C Christian Kelley.

Mr. Met was always nice to me. What made him turn to the dark side earlier this week?
Mr. Met was always nice to me. What made him turn to the dark side earlier this week?

>>> In the wake of the Mr. Met kerfuffle, Onlinegambling.lv issued these odds for the next MLB team mascot to make an obscene gesture: Swinging Friar (Padres) 7/1, Raymond (Ray) 8/1, Southpaw (White Sox) 10/1, Pirate Parrot 12/1, Phillie Phanatic 15/1, field 7/8.

>>> UPDATE 4:52 PM – Jameson Taillon will make his third rehab start on Wednesday with Triple-A Indy. “He’s gonna pitch one more … He’s gonna go out and make another start (June) 7,” Hurdle said. “We’re going to look for however many ups we get him at 85 to 90 pitches.” That would put Taillon in line to rejoin the rotation on June 12 vs. the Rockies at PNC Park.

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Pirates 12, Mets 7: Elias Diaz to the rescue.

Notebook: In which Moroff slugs, Taillon deals, Cervelli sits and Gosselin gets back

>>> Saturday: Pirates at Mets, 7:15 p.m., Citi Field, New York. TV: Fox. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates (25-30): Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Gregory Polanco 9, David Freese 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Jordy Mercer 6, Elias Diaz 2, RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-4, 6.95)

Mets (23-30): Michael Conforto 7, Asdrubel Cabrera 6, Jay Bruce 9, Neil Walker 4, Lucas Duda 3, Wilmer Flores 5, Curtis Granderson 8, Rene Rivera 2, RHP Robert Gsellman (3-3, 5.75)

Gamecast: In 12 career outings (10 starts) at Citi Field, Gsellman is 4-4 with a 3.67 ERA. Over 16 career starts in the majors, Gsellman is 6-5 with a 4.47 ERA. … In his last outing May 29 vs. the Brewers, Gsellman worked seven innings and gave up two runs on three hits, walked two and struck out five. It was the first time since Sept. 30, 2106, that he’d allowed fewer than two earned runs as a starter. … OF Curtis Granderson got his 1,600th hit on Friday, a single in the second inning. Only 22 active players have 1,600-plus hits. … 1B Lucas Duda has 118 home runs, which ties him with Ed Kranepool for 10th place in Mets history. … Neil Walker played in his 1,000th game on Friday. In eight games against the Pirates, he is 11 for 33, including one double, one triple, three homers and eight RBI. … Paul Sewald was socked for a career-high five runs in 0.1 inning on Friday. He had allowed three runs over his previous 20.0 IP.

>>> Sunday: Pirates at Mets, 1:10 p.m., Citi Field, New York. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (2-3, 5.20) Mets: RHP Tyler Pill (0-1, 3.00)

>>> Monday: Off day

>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 2.92) Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (3-4, 5.92)

>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.02) Orioles:  LHP Wade Miley (2-3, 2.82)

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

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Game 55: Hanson DFA’d, Ngoepe sent to Indy

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Story and video by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

PTR-Bucs01-030316PTR-Bucs04-030316NEW YORK — Alen Hanson used to be one of the Pirates’ top prospects. Gift Ngoepe was one of this seasons’s feel-good stories when he was called up in late April.

On Friday, the Pirates dumped both players from their active roster. Ngoepe, the first African-born player in MLB, was demoted to Triple-A Indianapolis. Hanson, who’s out of minor league options, was designated for assignment.

To fill those spots, the Pirates brought up infielders Max Moroff and Phil Gosselin from Indy.

In 42 games with Indy, Moroff batted .269 with nine doubles, 13 home runs and 36 RBI. Moroff is tied for the International League lead in home runs and is  ranked second with a .954 OPS. A 16th-round pick in 2012, Moroff hit .111 in nine games with the Pirates on May 8-12. Gosselin hit .310 with six doubles, a triple, seven RBI and 15 runs scored in 22 games with Indianapolis. He was on the opening day roster, then was sent down on May 7.

Hanson, 24, played in 36 games and batted .193 with a .483 OPS. Two of his 11 hits were triples and he went 2 for 3 in steal attempts. The Pirates signed Hanson for $90,000 in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic. In 2012, Baseball America rated him the sixth-best prospect in the Low-A South Atlantic League.

” It had been a hard road for him to get to this level with part-time play,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We still haven’t seen the tools he has come together. You see a tool here, you see a tool there. The challenge has been putting them all together.

Ngoepe, 27, played in 27 games and hit .222 with a .619 OPS.

>>> The Pirates’ next homestead includes the third annual THON game on June 13. A portion of proceeds from tickets sold via this link will benefit the Penn State Dance Marathon. THON has raised more than $146 million since 1977.

>>> UPDATE 6:47 p.m. — Francisco Cervelli has been scratched due to an unspecified illness. New lineup below …

>>> Friday: Pirates at Mets, 7:10 p.m., Citi Field, New York. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Gregory Polanco 9, David Feese 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Jordy Mercer 6, Elias Diaz 2, RHP Gerrit Cole (2-5, 3.65)

Mets: Michael Conforto 7, Asdrubel Cabrera 6, Jay Bruce 9, Neil Walker 4, Lucas Duda 3, Wilmer Flores 5, Curtis Granderson 8, Travis d’Arnaud 2, RHP Matt Harvey (4-3, 4.95)

Gamecast: In his last outing on Sunday vs. the Pirates, Harvey worked six innings, his longest outing in six starts. He gave up one run, which matched his season low. … Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes has been out since April 27 with a hamstring injury. He hit .270/.373/.619 with six homers in 18 games before going on the disabled list. … Despite a .313 batting average, Wilmer Flores was benched on Tuesday, but manager Terry Collins will continue to give the utility infielder chances to break out from his platoon role if he improves vs. right-handed pitchers. … One week ago, Neil Walker went 3 for 5 in the Mets’ 8-1 rout of the Pirates. Walker became the first Mets batter to hit two home runs in one game at PNC Park. Five Metropolitans hit a pair at Three Rivers Stadium: Mike Piazza (April 14, 2000), John Olerud (June 29, 1997), Mark Carreon (June 17, 1990), Willie Montanez (May 24, 1978) and Dave Kingman (July 31, 1975; Sept. 10, 1975; April 18, 1976)

>>> Saturday: Pirates at Mets, 7:15 p.m., Citi Field, New York. TV: Fox. Radio: 93.7 FM. Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-4, 6.95) Mets: RHP Robert Gsellman (3-3, 5.75)

>>> Sunday: Pirates at Mets, 1:10 p.m., Citi Field, New York. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (2-3, 5.20) Mets: RHP Tyler Pill (0-1, 3.00)

>>> Monday: Off

>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 2.92) Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (3-4, 5.92)

>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.02) Orioles:  LHP Wade Miley (2-3, 2.82)

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

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