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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Pirates 2, Reds 0

One hour to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (49-44) vs. Cincinnati Reds (47-48)

Time: 7:05 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, radio: Root Sports, News Talk 104.7 FM

Weather: 77 degrees, rain

Here is the official live box score, and here are the lineups …


  1. Alex Presley, LF
  2. Chase d’Arnaud, SS
  3. Neil Walker, 2B
  4. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  5. Matt Diaz, RF
  6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
  7. Brandon Wood, 3B
  8. Mike McKenry, C
  9. Charlie Morton, RHP


  1. Drew Stubbs, CF
  2. Zack Cozart, SS
  3. Joey Votto, 1B
  4. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  5. Jay Bruce, RF
  6. Miguel Cairo, 3B
  7. Fred Lewis, LF
  8. Ramon Hernandez, C
  9. Dontrelle Willis, LHP

Karen Price has news updates on the Bucco Blog.

UPDATE 4:56 p.m.: Cool moment on the field a few minutes ago …

As Lyle Overbay (not pictured) comes up the dugout steps a few seconds late for the position players’ stretch, Matt Diaz (center, leading the stretch), begins a playful applause for Overbay’s arrival. The rest clap, too, as you can see. Overbay took it well.

6:10: The tarp was taken off, and now it’s back on again. More of a mist than a rain right now.

By the way, I’ll have a feature in tomorrow’s Trib about the Pirates’ improved defense, and I can tell you know that the players’ primary reason for this will surprise you.

7:26: The game will start at exactly 8 p.m.

7:51 p.m.: Seriously, you’d need to be here to believe this, the way people are just riveted on the game ahead. And I’m just talking about cheering intros and the Anthem. It doesn’t look like this crowd will top 25K, but they’re really into it.

8 p.m.: First pitch from Morton to Stubbs, 77 degrees.

8:09: Upper deck starts spontaneous “Let’s Go Bucs!” chant to try to get Morton going. We’ll see if it works. He’s really pitching inside.

8:10: Now, there’s the pitch that matters. Even if Morton loses tonight, he needs to get that sinker moving just like he did to Phillips now.

8:14: 0-2 count to Cairo, place is roaring. I will not get used to this soon.

8:17: Immense bolt of lightning over Downtown skyline immediately — and I mean immediately — prompts home plate umpire Tony Randazzo to get tarp out. Good for him. Right call.

8:22: Not much of a rain at all, but I’m sure Randazzo just wants this ominously dark system to pass before restarting.

8:25: Oh, I take that back. Here comes a really heavy rain. Water’s really piling up on the tracks, too. PNC doesn’t drain anywhere near as well as it used to. Could be here a while.

8:55: Not really much rain now, but tarp still down.

9:01: I’d imagine we’re well past the point where Morton could return. And something else that’s worth considering: Clint Hurdle said before the game that he won’t have Chris Resop or Jose Veras tonight. Not much bullpen there, either.

Just thinking out loud, but Indianapolis’ starters Tuesday and Wednesday are, in order, Rudy Owens and Brad Lincoln. If James McDonald gets pushed up a day to pitch tonight — no harm in that, coming off the break — one of those two could pitch tomorrow. Both are on the 40-man, and the lefty Owens might be a good fit to face Cincinnati.

9:18: Here comes the underpaid grounds crew again. Field and tracks are in good shape. I take back what I said about PNC. Well done, old place.

9:22: The game will resume at 9:40 p.m., it was just announced.

9:37: Wow, Morton is back on the mound. Didn’t see that coming.

9:40: OK, where were we? Oh, 1-2 count to Cairo, right.

9:42: Wow, one of the best plays this season turned in there by d’Arnaud, a diving flip from his glove to Walker for the inning-ending force at second. Outstanding. Kid bounced up and pumped his fist, too.

The in-game entertainment apparently thought so little of it that they almost immediately started blasting music to drown out the crowd’s cheering. Amazing.

10:36: That’s a terrific first-to-third sprint by d’Arnaud, but honestly, I was even more impressed by Bruce’s across-the-body bullet from right-center. Great throw. Just a hair late.

10:44: That whole inning came about as the result of speed and aggressiveness. Hurdle might have looked stupid in the spring, but it’s all paying off now.

10:58: D’Arnaud is out of the game because of neck stiffness. There won’t be further word on his condition until tomorrow.

11:09: Let’s pause for a second here to point out that Morton now has given up one run in 23 innings against the Reds. And tonight, he did it despite a 30-pitch first inning and very long rain delay. Outstanding five innings.

Now, why he batted the previous inning, I have no idea.

11:24: Six up, six down for Tony Watson. Very well done. Almost so well done that they should have drowned the whole thing out with blaring music.

11:25: Here comes Overbay, tormented all night by the fans, looking for a third K.

11:26: Soft pop to center. Man, his at-bats tonight have been just terrible.

11:29: Attendance is 22,016. I’m impressed.

11:37: The Pirates have to hate seeing catcher’s interference when Watson is going like this. That would have been three perfect.

11:47: And here’s Aroldis Chapman’s Pittsburgh debut!

11:49: He’s at about 98, 99, then got to 100 on that flyout by Presley.

11:58: And that’s it. Hanrahan’s 27th save. Best crowd I can recall at PNC.

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