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Final: Cubs 4, Pirates 3, 11 innings

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (53-33) vs. Chicago Cubs (37-48)

Starters: RHP A.J. Burnett vs. RHP Carlos Villanueva

Time: 2:20 p.m.

Site: Wrigley Field, Chicago

TV, radio: Root Sports, 93.7 The Fan

Here’s the official live box score.

Here’s the Pirates’ lineup …

  1. Starling Marte, LF
  2. Jose Tabata, RF
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Garrett Jones, 1B
  5. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  6. Russell Martin, C
  7. Brandon Inge, 2B
  8. Jordy Mercer, SS
  9. Burnett, P

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page. Karen Price is on the scene.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

262 Comments

  1. Beat Em Bucs

    Go like 60

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  2. I hope that Neil is ok and back in the line up soon. As well, I hope that today, or however long Neil’s injury lasts, proves to be the end of the Inge experiment. I just don’t get it. More importantly, I hope it doesn’t hurt our record. I’d much rather see DeJesus. He’s doing very well in Indy. Free DeJesus.

  3. SUNDAY INGE-TASTIC PICK ‘EM!!!

    Max “wager” is 100 units on any single line.
    All “wagers” must be in multiples of 5 units.
    Play as few or as many lines as you’d like.
    As always, this is for fun and entertainment purposes.

    NEW PLAYERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME & ENCOURAGED!!!

    Today’s Pick ‘Em Line
    Total Combined HITS + WALKS + HBP by Brandon Inge in today’s game
    0 (EVEN ODDS)
    1 (EVEN ODDS)
    2 (DOUBLE ODDS)
    3 or More (TRIP-TRIP-TRIPLE ODDS)

    Please Note – All games must be considered official games in order for line(s) to be valid. Any postponement, cancellation, or suspension of game(s) will void line(s).

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  4. Mr Playoffs I will go with 100 latinum on 1 please. Thank you. Go Buccos!

  5. I’d rather see Barmes playing second, than Inge.

    And I REALLY don’t care for Barmes.

    But if they win, I won’t care.

    • I kind of figured that Barmes would be a short and Mercer would be at second.

      But it appears that Hurdle wants Mercer to stick at short, and he doesn’t want to move him around the diamond.
      I like that.

    • Definitely prefer Barmes at 2nd over Inge. Neither can hit for squat, but Barmes has the better glove. I really can’t even think of a situation where I want to see Inge in the lineup, maybe as a late inning defensive replacement, but isn’t that what Barmes is for at this point? This is an incredibly weak bench and there’s no reason both of those guys should be on it. Pick one (Barmes) and replace the other with someone who might actually be a threat to pick up a late inning, pivitol, pinch hit. This is something that clearly needs to be addressed by the deadline.

      1-8 the pirates stack up pretty well against most teams, but 22-25 is a real problem that can be exposed. It doesn’t help that Barmes and Inge are both Hudle’s guys and you know he wants to keep them around, but I think Neil needs to step in and do something about it.

  6. 100 on 2 please.

  7. Informal lunatic poll: assuming that Neil Walker’s injury is not serious enough to merit a DL stint, would your preferred short-term solution be:

    A) Use Inge with a BA of .198 and an OPS of .483 or
    B) Slide Mercer to 2B and use Barmes with an average of .200 and an OPS of .502

    option C (any of the three middle infielders at Indy, or anyone else) is not a valid choice unless we DL Neil. If interested, reply in the box and I will tabulate and report back.

  8. NIce to see FC getting an early start on his beer drinking today while he was talking to Hurdle’s dad.

  9. Justin Smoak just smokes one on Arroyo and it’s 3-0 M’s over Reds on the out of town.

  10. Not sure if anyone remembers, it’s been a few years–maybe when Locke was in either Lynchburg or Altoona; someone wrote an article about how he might and up being the real “get” out of the McLouth trade. Don’t know if it was in relation to Morton pitching well, I don’t think it was mentioned in the Morton-Halladay piece.

    Anyway, solid +1 Internet if anyone can dig it up. I couldn’t even tell you if it was Trib or PG tbh.

  11. Inge made a really nice play on that last out.

  12. Nice interview with Grilli’s Dad sitting down.

  13. Here we go with ANOTHER pitcher that throws mostly junk…fastball max around MPH… Bucs typically stuggle with pitchers like this…they aren’t patient enough and lunge at pitcher’s pitches….will they prove me wrong today?

  14. We need a couple of big outs right now

  15. Error by Jones leads to a second Cub run, defense a little shoddy of late. Bats are going to need to wake up against a starter just pulled from bullpen.

  16. Tabata continues with hot bat since return, leadoff double for middle of lineup.

  17. Pirates offense needs to stop hitting the snooze bar, and get up already.
    3 runs against this team shouldn’t be such a chore…..

  18. Big gapper by Cutch and Bucs answer right back, chance to tie game back up. Second time through order and bats having some success.

  19. Nobody but Tabata.

  20. Cutch swinging the bat well. The average has been climbing. Maybe our long awaited hot streak….

  21. That at bat by Alvarez, is what will ALWAYS drive me nuts about his hitting.
    Runner on third with one out, you don’t strike out.

  22. That is the part of Pedro’s game that drives me the most crazy. Yes he strikes out a lot , but there is a lot of room for improvement with getting the runner home with less than 2 outs. Sac fly – grounder to the right side!

    • AMEN, just make contact.

      • How he can stand there and look at a pitch right down the middle of the plate defies all logic. And, then argues with the umpire who is horrible but not on that pitch. How this guy is an umpire is beyond me.

    • +1. Look to Cmat’s comment above re junk throwers — directly applicable.

  23. Good Sunday one and all. Just back from 8 days in the woods. Hope everyone is well.

  24. Inge needs to take more BATTING PRACTICE! :-(

  25. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

  26. Why is Inge on the team, let alone playing. Hurdle and Huntington are supposed to be arter than this. There are ten guys at triple A that I would be more hopeful of getting a hit.

  27. Inge being, well, Inge sure didn’t help there.
    But, that inning was lost by Alvarez.

    In my opinion, Alvarez is NOT an All-Star caliber player.
    Can’t keep striking out with runners in scoring position.

  28. I guarantee that after this series we’ll see Matt Hague or Josh Harrison filling Inge’s roster spot. Hopefully Hague; Barmes can still play MI.

    • I would like Harrison due to his versatility, but it amazes me that he hits very well down at Indy and just has not got anything going when up with the big club.

  29. I just love that Martin stole that base. He’s been doing that all year: stealing a base solely to prevent double plays, not because he’s showing off blazing speed. Smart, smart player.

  30. Well, as my Playoff pick was 3 or more hits for Inge, now I’m hoping we play till Tuesday, if he stays in, with say 25 at bats, he might reach it

  31. Kerwin Bell and his strike zone is just all over the place, Burnett was half way to dugout before realizing that pitch that was all over the corner to Castillo was called ball four.

  32. Dangerous Sean Burnett with the single.

  33. Now that ball was SPANKED !!!

  34. Jose Tabata welcome back, crushed double into ivy ties game at 2!

  35. Thanks to Soriano’s Defense!

  36. Tabby! That ball sounded like it was a shot and it was. He is actually looking good!

  37. Fist bump to Cutch for not expanding the zone and accepting the pitch-around.

  38. Garrett Jones is starting to hit like Snider.

  39. Outside of Pedro, the Bucs just can’t hit the long ball to score or change a game. Jones is down and Sanchez has no real bang. Tabata just hasn’t developed into a HR threat and Marte will surprise every once in awhile. Walker either the back or the quad seems to linger and he just doesn’t have the juice of two years ago. NH go get a bat.

  40. Not good.

  41. Why can’t anyone on this team hit a sacrifice fly? They can’t get a runner home from 3rd with less than 2 outs if their lives depended on it. Pathetic.

  42. So this Mercer guy…
    Why does everyone insist that he play everyday?

    He’s looked very pedestrian the last week or so.

  43. Gee, runner on third breaks on contact on a grounder to short. Happens to often. One thing almost every one of those incidents has in common – NICK LEYVA. We played better when Nick was home sick.

    • Yes, there you go.
      It is Nick Leyva’s fault that Mercer couldn’t hit a fly ball to the outfield.

      • Yes, a fly ball would have been nice (not that it’s so easy to intentionally hit a fly ball to deep left – probably easier to dink it into right, but anyway…)
        Not just talking about this time. This has happened frequently over the past 3 years with Leyva coaching third. Boneheaded running mistakes between 2nd and home – which we saw both happen on that play – Martin should have been on 3rd IF Pedro was running, which he shouldn’t have been.

  44. Base Running 101–is there a worse base running team in baseball???

  45. Why doesn’t this team need to make any trades again?

  46. No matter how this turns out, it was a fine return for AJ.

  47. Nice easy 1-2-3 inning of work by Watson, aided by the nice play by Mercer on high chopper. It comes down to battle of pens today, have to think advantage Pirates.

    • Not if we don’t start getting a hit or a damn fly ball or grounder to the right side. Real hard for major league players to do??

  48. Good thing for Tabby the 1st plate ump was napping.

  49. This game has all the makings of a bitter loss.
    Inspire me to thin otherwise :)

  50. Just me, or did the Cubs announcers practically give that Illinois basketball coach the silent treatment while he was in the booth?

  51. What a terrible pitch!!!

  52. Exactly what feared. I guess he averages 1.3 per month.

  53. Cubs might not be a good team, but it must be nice having cuts on the bench that can actually get a hit. All the pirates have on the bench are two hundred hitters.

  54. Here come the tying and go-ahead runs.

  55. On that rundown play, the runner on second immediately comes to third – and stands one foot short of it. If a blessed miracle occurs whereby a runner like Pedro scores, or in the more likely event he gets tagged out, in EITHER CASE Martin merely steps on third and is safe. By not touching third, the base is still open for Pedro.

    In the event Pedro gets back to third safely, then Martin retreats toward second creating another rundown allowing the batter to get to second if he’s not already there, again standing one foot short of it in case Martin needs to or can get back to second.

    Leyva doesn’t know that yet, but Martin should.

    In this event, the worst case scenario is the same as before the ball was hit with another out

    • That’s preposterous and wouldn’t work anywhere past Little League.

      • I could see it happening if John Russell was still managing.

        • Is there an explanation to this one-liner, because you have Ghost all excited?

          • Ghost said it wouldn’t happen past Little League.
            I countered that I could see a John Russell team allowing it to happen as well.

            • Accepted, except he as well as Leyva aren’t aware of how a rundown play – by the offensive team – should be executed.

              Which reminds me of one of my three very favorite quotes in sports, when after Tampa Bay Bucs were going through their 0-16 season, after a particular game a reporter asked John McKay ” even though you lost today coach, what do you think of your teams execution?” To which he replied, ” I think it’s a great idea!”

              • Did you see an accent mark and interpret that as excitement? BTW, you also bungled the John McKay quote.

            • Actually, it DID happen under Russell. Someone got in a rundown, ended up on 3rd at the same time as Andy LaRoche. The lead runner got tagged, Andy got confused and stepped off the bag – double play. Anyone else remember that painful moment?

  56. . . . . .with the presumption Martin or Mercer will have been tagged out

  57. No Ghost it’s baseball. Introduce yourself to it

  58. Inge is totally worthless.

  59. Cards sweep Marlins, Reds lose two of three at home to Mariners, looking at giving two game lead right back to Cards if no ninth inning magic.

  60. Here’s the way I look at it.

    When you win 9 in a row, you are going to endure a 2-4 week at some point.

    Keep Calm & Break .500

    • You are looking at it incorrectly. Where is it written going 2-4 is OK anytime?

      Winning teams NEVER think that way!

      • Hey check it out, Bob is right and someone else is wrong.

        Go bully someone else.
        I don’t want to get into it with you today.

    • All teams will, Reds scuffling of late, Dbacks went through losing streak, Braves have dropped a couple of series…it is how you respond that determines your fate.

      Glad to have six at PNC before break, good time to get back on track.

  61. Good inning for Mazzaro. He looked really bad the other day when he came in with runners on base. It seems to me that has bothered him in the past – I would only let him start innings. Now lets at least tie this thing up.

  62. If we ARE on the verge of acquiring a bat, enjoy that last inning by Mazzaro. I figure he — and possible Tabby, if he’s playing because he’s being showcased — are most likely to be how we pay for a rental.

    • Tabata is our rightfielder. Especially after that at bat by Snider

      • Today, he is. Tomorrow brings no guarantee, nor should it. As for Snider, he’s our fourth outfielder.
        There are a lot of corner outfielders out there that are better than either of these guys and all it takes is for one club that knows they will be out of it at the end of this month to do a tango with us.

  63. Jordy Ripken Wagner Mercer with a whopping 2 hits this entire week.
    Let’s all get angry when he doesn’t start on Monday.

  64. MARTE PARTAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  65. Marte Parte!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  66. Woo Hoo!

  67. Starling Marte…MARTE PARTE, never give up on this team, battling Buccos!

  68. Okay, that’ll do. Now the winner.

  69. He should have thrown it in the dirt. Hooray for Marte!

  70. What an amazing AB, future star…that pitch was off plate and swing he put on it just incredible.

  71. Elvis just sat back down!

  72. Dantley has been pretty accurate today. I am surprised.

  73. Tabata with another really good at bat. Pretty soon I’ll start feeling bad about being the only Pirate fan to ever say anything negative about him.

  74. Melancon mows Cubs down on just 7 pitches in ninth. How was he not an All-Star, his numbers are just off the charts.

  75. Putting up at least the appearance of being open-minded, can someone explain the double switch, since I cannot imagine Melancon pitching 2 innings?

    • I’m far from open-minded, but will admit I’m scratching my head too.

    • Step One: The manager puts in a pinch-hitter to hit for the pitcher (or another player).
      Step Two: The pinch-hitter makes his at bat.
      Step Three: In the next half inning, the pinch-hitter takes over for a position player in the field.
      Step Four: The pinch-hitter takes over the place in the batting order of the position player he replaces in the field, rather than the pitcher.
      That’s a double switch.
      Make sense?

  76. Chuck Tanner used to say, you win 54, lose 54 and the other 54 make the difference

    This one could make a difference if we pull it off

  77. Love the never say die attitude.

  78. That wasn’t even close. Wow…

  79. Russell Martin, the overpaid free agent (man, do I and others look bad with those comments) is my no doubt Pirates team MVP. He’s eliminated the running game against the Pirates while he’s behind the plate, handling the pitching staff with greatness, and had some important hits.

    Oh… only 11th inning, this is going 16.

    • It’s enough that my wife teases me about Martin every time he throws out a runner. I am one of your “others.” +1.

    • Don’t feel bad guys. I had been patiently biting my tongue on Pedro forever, letting others call him “K-dro” and “rally killer.” Then I finally swayed into the “time to move on camp” and posted it. That same evening Pedro emerged from a telephone booth with a “S” on his chest and hasn’t looked back.

  80. Second base poll results:

    Barmes 2
    Inge 2 (interpreting liberally)
    Jandy 1
    Tbd 1977 1
    Play without one 1

    Will try to come up with a more interesting topic if we ever do this again

  81. Snider is AWFUL. How do they keep him, Inge, Barmes, McKenry on a major league roster?? And, where was Snider playing the leadoff hitter that couldn’t hit a golf ball to the warning track??

  82. Need to somehow get to the 12th when the real hitters come up.

  83. Hi Clint, this is the point in the game where you walk out of the dugout ….

  84. I take it back… Russell Martin is LVP

  85. Eric, we jinxed Martin!

  86. The Pirates can’t score in this situation. Take heart.

  87. What is a “sacrifice fly?” Is that legal?

  88. Lower The Jolly Hippo.

    Offense was offensive again.

    Defense was offensive also.

    Need to pick it up with Oakland coming to town.

    • Ugh again! Stuff happens. This team will take its lumps to be sure. What matters is how they come back.

      • Muppet !!!!!!!!!!!

        Well, time to organize my house.
        Clean then cook.

        Hope everyone has a great night………… hope the Bucs do better tomorrow.

        Hippo out.

  89. Is there a Groupon for tomorrow? Otherwise, dropping back-to-back series against teams with losing records is probably not going to inspire a large walkup crowd. Moss will probably go yard several times asserting the “ex-Pirate” factor.

  90. Martin has been an upgrade at catcher. Mercer is a upgrade over Barmes. What the Bucs see in Snyder escapes me. He is clueless at the plate, his reaction time in right field is so slow he makes Tabata look average. The Pirates have pitching and AJ looks like he is back to good form. This team just can’t score enough runs to win games like these. The cubs are a bad team and to lose a series is on the hitting. Cash flow being what it is, I don’t envision the bucs taking on any contracts of note. NH will continue to defend his platoon with Hurdle need for flexibility. Quick translation, our owner has a payroll of 72 million net 62 million and that is enough to make things do.

  91. Bob Walk’s laying the wood to the offense on the post-game show. Good for him. If you look at their OPS+ for each of the positions compared to other teams they measure up. The runs aren’t there because they don’t get the job done when it matters. RF must be upgraded. If you look at 2012, the LF OPS+ was 68. The last I checked, the 2013 RF OPS+ was 76. If you measure the impact Marte in LF has had on the team, the Pirates could benefit from an equal impact by a new RF.

  92. I have a few adjectives for the offense.

    And for tomorrow’s soccer column.

  93. The offense is tired

  94. We lose 2 of 3 to the lowly Cubbies? Is this the start of the annual swoon? Again, we have quit hitting with men on base. Pedro hits with the bases empty, but put a man on first and you can count 2 outs from his bat. Still not convinced this team is for real. For one thing, we have no bench to count on when we need a hit in the late innings. We have a few players who don’t belong on a contending team. I call them automatic outs, and they aren’t in the same league as Mendosa even. Inge is probably the worst of the lot. Let’s get some real hitters before it’s too late. GO! BUCS!!

    • What still gets me is how we do nothing against these “sub par” starting pitchers that we face.

      • Well, you have to remember that these sub par pitchers are facing sub par batters–so that evens things out.

        We just have to face reality here–while it’s been great that the Bucs have won a slew of 2-1 and 1-0 games this season the lack of offense is bound to start catching up with them. How far and how hard they fall is the big question that will determine how this team is ultimately remembered.

        • Folks, the Bucs should have beat up on both the Philthies & the Cubs. Now, we have 3 against the A’s (a good team) and 3 against the Mets (a not so good team). If the Bucs go 3-3 (or worse) in these 6 games, we should all be concerned.

  95. I’m feeling very sad.

  96. Tomorrow’s a new day, gang. True, we’ve fallen back into a tie with St. Louis. But it’s still a tie for the best record in baseball. I think a bat is on the way to Pittsburgh in a few weeks, and even after a trade for that we’ve still got the best pitching in all of baseball.

  97. Speaking of soccer, Off with their Heads!

  98. Let’s check out a couple of Baltimore orphanages. Maybe there’s another Babe Ruth in
    one of them.

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