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Final: Pirates 8, Cubs 2

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (90-67) vs. Chicago Cubs (65-92)

Starters: RHP Gerrit Cole vs. LHP Chris Rusin

Time: 8:05 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. Jordy Mercer, SS
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Marlon Byrd, RF
  5. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
  6. Russell Martin, C
  7. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
  8. Josh Harrison, 2B
  9. Cole, P

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates pageRob Biertempfel and Travis Sawchik are 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.

355 Comments

  1. TUESDAY OVER/UNDER!!!

    Looking for the current standings???
    http://blog.triblive.com/dejan-kovacevic/2013/09/24/morning-java-when-the-headline-says-it-all/#comment-260833

    ******PLEASE READ WHAT IS WRITTEN BELOW******
    PLEASE PLACE YOUR “WAGERS” AS REPLIES IN THIS COMMENT BOX
    Makes my job a helluva lot easier when I don’t have to hunt to find everyone’s “wagers”

    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!!

    Tonight’s Line
    Total Combined HITS + RBI’s by Andrew McCutchen and Marlon Byrd in tonight’s game
    Line is 3.5

    GOOD LUCK!!!

    Magic Number to Clinch the #4 Seed: 6

    Anything is possible if a person believes
    Mark 9:23

    KEEP CALM & GET HOME-FIELD

  2. A little surprised Hurdle didn’t use Sanchez. But I guess saving him for Liriano these days?

  3. I find myself anticipating Cole’s starts now more than any Pirates pitcher in a long, long time. It is great to see a talented flame-thrower grow and improve with just about every start.

    • I was just thinking yesterday that I anticipate Cole, AJ, Morton and Liriano’s starts more then almost any pitcher’s for the Pirates over the las 6 or 7 years. Maybe early on when Gorzalanny and Ollie where pitching good I had a little anticipation.

      I agree Cole is at the top of the list for me because of his youth and the fact that he is starting to mix in more pitches so you really don’t know what you will see for him from game to game as far as getting hitters out. The other 3 you kind of just know what is coming and that is why all their ceilings feel like a number 2 or 3. Cole looks like he could eventually have 3 out pitches. That is exciting.

  4. Last night:

    I cheered.

    I smiled so broadly my jaw began to hurt.

    I screamed so loudly my voice was raw this morning.

    I cried. (Don’t tell anyone or I beat you up!)

  5. I’m sure Cole can and will hold the Cubbies in check, but for goodness sake, let’s
    score some runs for him. I think about 4 should be enough.Also, I would sit Pedro
    against the lefty and play Walker at 2nd and Harrison at 3rd.

    Remote manager Chuck H.

    • I would like to think they will be playing a bit more relaxed today. Not “butt puckered” like they seem to have been in the last few games (Except for the starting pitching).

      More relaxed approach = more confidence = more runs!!

    • I agree… we could use another laugher… hopefully the boys didn’t party too hard last night.

    • I like that lineup, Chuck.

      Milwaukee roughed this guy up in his last outing after he held them to two runs over seven inning the first time around.

      Rusin’s first start against the Pirates resulted in a two run, seven innings performance.

      I’m sayin theres a chance…

  6. Being six hours ahead in time (I live in England), I woke myself up this morning at around 0330 in time to watch the 8th & 9th innings at Wrigley live on MLB-TV. When the Cubs tied it in the bottom of the 8th, I felt so depressed I thought seriously of going back to bed and watching the rest of it later in the morning. But I couldn’t. I’ve been a Pirates fan since 1947, when I was a kid growing up in Ohio, and I had to see how this one turned out. Not because it could have clinched a WC spot, but because the competition among the top three in the NL Central is so intense and our Buccos are in it for the first time in two decades.

    When Marte hit his HR in the 9th, I clapped my hands over my head and cheered out loud in front of the computer screen, though there was no one to celebrate with other than my three cats who are definitely not baseball fans.

    Thirteen seconds elapsed between the time Grilli let go of the final pitch to the moment the ball had come all the way back and Russell Martin raised his hand with the ball in it and the umpire called the runner out. In that time, my emotions went from low (on the hit) to lower (as Byrd missed the ball) to hopeful when Morneau caught McCutchen’s throw and turned to relay it home, to absolutely ecstatic when the call was made. As a result, my spirits have been higher than a kite all day today and it has been a beautiful, warm, Indian Summer’s day in southern England.

    I remember watching the 1960 WS and the feeling at the end was something like that this morning…not as high, but close. The truth is: when the Bucs win the World Series, you feel good for months and months and months. I feel truly fortunate that it’s happened three times in my lifetime and I’m grateful there’s now a chance for another.

    DK: You coming to the game Sunday, War Horse?

  7. “Playoff Fever, CATCH IT!!!”

  8. Best name in this lineup: Cole.

    Hope he continues to dominate this month.

  9. Much talk about the pickups of Martin and Liriano… and a lot of the other moves NH has made, but what about keeping the faith in Morton?

    Big risk of him coming back and pitching this way after TJ surgery…. and he is very, very good right now… better than he ever has been.

    As we move forward to 2014, the rotation is in very good shape. Liriano, Cole and Morton are a great foundation. There is a possibilty that AJ and Wandy round out the starting 5… lots of depth with Locke & Cumpton. Taillon will be coming in June (Cole-style) and that gives the Bucs a lot of flexibility….

    • Man, I love that observation.

      I’ve been thinking all day how amazing it is that Charlie Freakin’ Morton won the game that put the Pittsburgh Freakin’ Pirates in the playoffs.

      Not just because for surviving Tommy John, but for surviving 2010. Wasn’t that some crazy stat like the worst starting pitching performance in history over a given stretch? Talk about a beaten man.

      Incredible to think how far he’s come.

      • And you correctly supported him this year. Guy has been solid. It’s almost like between him and Locke we got a full year of unexpected good starting pitching.

        • I was thinking the same thing. And keep him away from AJ next year. ;-)

        • This is faster than I expected, but I was a believer in the 2011 transformation, and it was obvious how much his injury affected him last year. The control has been the only surprise. Never thought he’d get that much feel so quickly.

          That being said, he’s gotta work on that change this offseason. Teams are gonna stack their lineups with lefties next year against him, and he still can’t get them out.

          • I agree. I was on board with him in 2011. I liked the command and movement.

            Seems to be even better this year.

            • This could end up being stupid since for all I know his arm isn’t still attached to his body with capable ligaments, but allow me to plug Jeff Karstens for the Charlie Morton Player of the Year award next season.

              Somebody is gonna sign that guy for pennies. I’d prefer it be the Pirates.

              • Its always a possibility. I would assume the Pirates would look into it.

                Do you take him over one of the many younger arms?

                Cumpton, Johnson come to mind.

              • The difference is that Morton had surgery. And guys who have surgery seem to come back better /or as good as before.

                Karstens didn’t have surgery did he?

              • Until we know what AJ decides to do and whether Wandy will pitch again, he has to be considered.

              • Absolutely. Karstens was doing the groundball schtick before it was all the rage and in front of guys like Ronny Cedeno. If he’s healthy, I put him down for 100+ sub-4 ERA innings as a starter without a doubt.

                Which would be perfect in the event that Jameson Taillon makes the jump next year.

                If somebody like Jeff Locke is a casualty, then that just means the pitching staff is that much better than this year.

              • @TC

                Jeff did have shoulder surgery, but even moreso, he was still a fine pitcher while dealing with issues.

                Even without a bump in performance due to surgery, I think he could improve based on the defense around him.

      • Technically, Morton didn’t get the win, but I agree with the argument earlier today that he should have gotten it.

        He’s due for at least a $3M raise next year in arbitration… probably make something north of $5M. And if he pitches well next year, I’d offer him a 3 year deal after that.

        • Have you seen that number somewhere? Seems like a lot considering a $2m base salary and only 2/3 of a season worth of value.

          He’ll pitch next season as a 31 year old. I know his age always surprises me.

          Given the injuries, I think I’d rather wish him best of luck in getting one nice pay day after next season.

      • Makes me believe we can all conquer our personal demons and rise from the ashes!

    • The best mid season acquistion.

  10. GOOD EVENING FROOT LOOPS!

  11. Oh my, it looks like Clint hasn’t gotten over his Josh Harrison obsession.

    Barmes not starting again though makes me happy enough.

    • And with Walker coming in with the Pirates up 6-1, the Harrison obsession is cured.

      Mercer hit another homer.

      But Barmes looks tough, so he has that going for him.

  12. OK all, I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. Though my spelling and grammar may not always prove true. (I do hold 4 degrees) However that doesn’t make me very good at remember things.

    I need some assistance. I need advice/ideas on retaining information. I have a massive load of information that I need to retain, but always have a hard time doing so. I currently read the information, 1 chapter at a time and then go back after and highlight the important information and then review. Still an early process, not 100% sure it will work that way.

    Any suggestions?

    • I’ve given the third degree a few times, but never four.

      One word, Ryan.

      Osmosis.

      :D

      Or have your kids quiz you on it. They’ll help you.

      • Believe me, I’ve fallen asleep to this stuff many times……..its that exciting.

        • Nor Cali Ryan,

          I learned in a Masters Psychology course that one’s memory is most receptive while one is sleeping.

          So I was taking a Religion course for that same Masters, and I had to memorize 5 chapters of the Bible. I dutifully recorded the 5 chapters on a cassette (just before CDs) and pushed “PLAY” before going to sleep, with a speaker directly under my ear. The only thing I forgot to do was check the batteries . . . .

          When I awoke the cassette was playing still: WWW-hhh-eee-nnn . ttt-hhh-eee . ddd-iii-sss-ccc-iii-ppp-lll-eee-sss . ccc-aaa-mmm-eee . ttt-ooo . JJJ-eee-sss-uuu-sss . . . .

          I got the first eight verses perfect, but it took the whole hour for me to write them out, and I left the rest of the test blank!

          • holy cow…..that really works?

            My wife just finished her Psychology degree. Trying to figure out which master’s direction she wants to head towards.

            I have to try that….hard to believe it would work, but I have to find out, if for no other reason, to prove myself wrong.

            that’s usually pretty easy to do.

    • In all seriousness, if it was the Bible I could help you.

      But that Air Force stuff, you be on your own, man.

      • Understand.

        so if you had to study the bible and then test on it…how would you study it? Or how DID you study it?

        I’ve done this quite a few times and can’t figure out a good habit to help me…

        • The difference is the Bible is a heart (spiritual) book and even people with a lower intellect like myself can get it in their hearts by reading, memorizing and speaking it. I’ve seen people memorize the Bible that literally can’t read.

          Then, when the situation arises, it rises up to our head from our heart. Ex. I got mostly straight A’s in Bible College, but had between a C and D accum in college. The mind is the gateway to the heart.

          You don’t have that advantage with Air Force detail or even history or math. It’s all head knowledge. Wish I could be more help to you.

          DISCLAIMER: I am not trying to convert anyone. This is my belief and I am aware this is a sports blog. This is not meant to offend anyone who doesn’t believe the Bible.

          8-)

    • I always found the best way is to revisit the information as much as possible. Doing what you are doing now and adding flash cards to the mix might also help. Plus it’s easier to carry the cards around than the books. The more times you make your brain cover the material, the more processing it has to do with the material.

      Can you put the material on an audio media and listen to it while driving? It never worked for me, but I have ADD and can’t concentrate on more than one thing at a time.

      Ooooooooh! Shiny penny!!

      Good Luck!!

    • Three scientifically proven suggestions for improving your mental capabilities, especially over the age of 50:
      1) Get at least 12 minutes of aerobic exercize six days a week. 15-30 minutes a day is better, but 12 is the minimum. Walking fast, jogging, swimming–anything that makes your heart beat faster–all qualify. Playing golf, gardening, surfing the Internet do not.
      2) Eat a healthy diet heavy on vegetables and fruit. Cut way down on meat and sugar.
      3) Sleep 8 hours a night. Six won’t do it and ten are too many. Your body needs 8 hours to refresh itself, especially the brain.
      Trust me. I read the scientific journals including Nature, and also the summaries in Scientific American, etc., and the above three rules are the basics. You can actually grow new brain cells which will improve your mental capabilities to ROOT FOR THE BUCS!
      (This is a sports blog.)

  13. Hey Jim S.
    I am sorry to say that I cannot make it to Pittsburgh for the playoffs. I have been swamped with emergencies. Your offer was quite humbling and appreciated very much. The guys at the Sheriff’s Department (where I am a volunteer chaplain) knew I couldn’t make it over to Pittsburgh and got me a Pirates shirt and provided me the resources to go to tomorrow’s Cubs-Pirates game! Thanks again so much. Maybe next year I can Mosie over to the Burgh!!

    • If you do, Matt, let us know here on the blog. Our church wants to help you out as a missions outreach. R and R for a minister is vital. Take it from someone with a few years in it.

    • That is wonderful you were given the opportunity to go to the game tomorrow! To Jimster that was a wonderful gesture on your part. Just proves this blog is full of class! Good vibes to you all!

  14. Sorry for being late to the party. So busy lately.

    With the early success the Bucs enjoyed this season, ’82′ quickly became an afterthought for me.

    Last night, the Pirates clinched a playoff spot and my deepest, humblest respect.

    “We did it!”

    For me, THIS is the moment that defines 2013 as a successful, winning season.

    The playoffs? We BELONG there. We EARNED it. It isn’t a fluke.

    5 games left to ‘bring it back to the ‘Burgh.’

    Go Bucs!

  15. Dejan,

    Since you are off yesterday and today, you are/were not WORKING as a columnist for a major metropolitan newspaper on those days.

    Seriously———did you have some kind of emotional response last night?

    Man to man . . . . I won’t tell!

    DK: Man to man?

    None. Zero. I did for a little while, but a certain couple of somethings tipped it back into negative territory for a net zero.

    • Net zero. Is that some kind of subliminal advertising, Dejan?

      Your name is Dejan isn’t it?

      ;)

    • Wow, wow. I cannot relate to that response other than to say deep down inside I understand. I’ll be thinking about that for awhile.

      DK’s doing a job. We are just goofing off with the National Pastime. Some of us take it too seriously at times. Myself included. Dude writes a short blog and we keep it going for hours on end. I can’t make fun of those who are addicted to reality TV anymore. But it is all OK. He has to stay emotionally cut off. Special trait.

      To more serious topic. Go Bucs! Go Mets! and yes please Go Nats. I hang out at Nats spring training practice a lot. 10 minutes from home, free and you get to see some neat inside stuff if you get there early.

    • You have my sympathy, Dejan.

    • DK, no matter how their email invitation was worded you should have went on All Things Considered today. You could have plugged your blog, internet radio show, columns, twitter…. (of course I wonder if Rob B would have spoken to you ever again if you went on NPR :-)

      Your former boss did a nice job with it.

    • couple of somethings tipped it back into negative territory = twitter ?

  16. It’s early but…
    Mets 4
    Reds 0

    Top 2

  17. 4-0 Mets in the 2nd. Mike Leake doing his best Jeff Locke impression.

    • Leake’s done with 2 outs in the 2nd. Still time to get to Macy’s.

      DK: Grand Theft Votto.

      Sorry.

    • Something to consider as we look at the upcoming Reds series and implications for potential WC game and where.

      The Pirates and Reds are 8-8 this season versus each other. If the Pirates were to have a one game lead going into the series and the Reds tie them by going 2-1, Reds get home field.

      Only way Pirates can get home game at PNC and take 1 of 3 in Cincy is for Reds to lose both remaining games with Mets and Pirates to win remaining games with Cubs and Bucs take two game lead.

      Simply put it is shaping up one way or the other that the reward for winning the three game set in Cincy is hosting the WC game if St Louis is not caught.

  18. Still want the Division – no sudden death one game nail biter.
    Bucs win tonight
    Reds and Cards lose.
    Step # 1

    Beat em Bucs!

  19. Hello, People, animals, Reverends, and others. ( I wont go into %’s here. ;) )

    I will be keeping an eye on the game thru you all here.

    :D

  20. Good Evening Tattoo The Disco Hippo and Jandelina!

  21. Happiest guys in the world – visiting clubhouse attendants at Wrigley Field.

  22. Evening All – As this day unfolded – It STILL is hard to get my hands wrapped around the fact (and it is a fact!) that our hometown baseball team is going to the post season. Still shaking my head. Ok, Buccos – - – let’s wrap this thing up over the next 5 days and get us a series at PNC Park next week. Have a good evening everyone! And, Beat ‘em Bucs!

  23. Nah you’re Kool Ken ;)

  24. Oh it’s that Matt Ruebel guy.

  25. Gotta run for now….will check in later on the game…just a quick hi. Have a good one.

  26. Hubs wants cherry turnovers….I’ll be watching but can’t post with sticky fingers lol

  27. Andre Dawson’s got it.

  28. El Toro with RBI #95, good guys take early lead.

  29. Cole takes matters into his own hands with two out two RBI hit, crooked number time….3-0 Buccos!

  30. Brian Kenny won’t care, but the way that kid handles the bat is going to win him a lot of ballgames.

  31. That hit by Murphy was on a pitch registering 98 on the gun.

  32. Hello Jordy.

  33. So I was reading through these while Jordy was up. Heard the wood, said Cya. Wife said sounds like it to me.

    Sure enough.

  34. OK if we get to a Sunday home game in the payoffs we have to wear our normal jerseys. Byrd Man plays better with the unbuttoned shirt.

  35. That’ll be all for Matt Ruebel. Chris Peters coming out of the Chicago bullpen. :)

  36. Gaby hit that ball harder than Jordy did. If it had any elevation it would be out in whatever avenue that is.

    Thank you Dale Svuem for putting In another lefty

  37. Looks like this one is in our favor.

    Take advantage Russ

  38. He shouldn’t change the call.

  39. Take a good long look at Dale Sveum. I’m hearing if Joe Girardi doesn’t like what he hears when he meets with the Steinbrothers, he’ll pull the plug. The Chicago thing seems to have legs.

  40. Another crack umpiring team consults and gets it wrong. Wow, maybe they are on crack?

  41. I guess we can see why Hurdle is at the crossroads on the shortstop position. Jordy is a liability in the field but sure can hit lefties.

  42. Nice to see someone other than Hurdle argue with and p*ss off the umpire lol

  43. WoW. What a wind up..

  44. We needed an interpreter for John Russell.

  45. Nationals are getting no-hit through 6, down 2-0.

  46. Nice to see the Nats putting a great effort together tonight as they are being no hit through six and it is Michael Wacha pitching for the Cards.

  47. Pedro a 3 RBI night and everybody’s favorite whipping boy now has 97 RBI’s on the season and gives himself a real shot at 100 RBI season.

    Nicely done El Toro.

    • Is this really necessary?

      “Everybody’s” favorite whipping boy?
      Stay classy, JRay.

      For God’s sakes, we made the playoffs, and you are out trolling for people critcizing Pedro.

      • He’s right. Just pointing out is production.

        I’ve said since he came up, if he could hit .250+ he’d easily be a 40/100 guy.

      • Plan – you are calling me out for trolling? I’m simply recognizing the great run production numbers of an individual that has been “trolled” all year and criticized all year.

        Just happy he is the Pirates 3B and look forward to seeing him play in the playoffs the team just clinched!

        • But again, was it necessary to call him “everybody’s whipping boy”?

          I critcized Pedro early in the year, but I havent issued a peep in months.

          I guess Hurdle, Barmes, Jones, Morneau also have to be everybody’s whipping boys also? They get far more criticism than Pedro does.

          My original point to you stands, sir.
          I felt it was completely unnecessary.

          Sad this cam from you.
          You are normally one of the better posters here, and I normally enjoy reading your posts. Doesnt mean I cant call out the unnecessary stuff.

  48. Wacha, wacha, wacha.

    Fozzy Bear can NOT resist that.

    I LOVE KICKING THE YOU KNOW WHAT OUT OF THE CUBS.

    Even though I personally, am not doing it.

  49. This has been one of the easiest games to watch all year. Scoreboard watching is killing me though.

  50. Cole’s a nut man. Better and better every outing.

  51. 60 pitches. 45 strikes, 15 balls. That Some Young Guy threw 21 balls in two thirds last inning for the Cubs.

  52. 4-2 Mets last of the 9th. Vic Black in to close. Avert your eyes.

  53. Wet blanket: hope the Pirates don’t end up needing those potential runs left on base tonight.

  54. Phewww

  55. Mets won.
    That kid from the Cards takes a no-hitter into the 0th.

  56. Reds obviously “overcelebrated” last night.

  57. To the 9th in St. Louis, no hitter in tact. Wacha’s thrown 99 pitches.

  58. Mercer again on defense.

    Was that solo shot worth it?

  59. Let’s revisit the defensive replacement talk. Pirates 6 Mercer/Cubs 2.

  60. Umpire calling balls and strikes is blind. He’s calling last pitch by Cole a ball and it was clearly in the strike zone via Gameday. Cole is ready to come out of the game, Mr. Mgr.
    He has lost his stuff, thanks in part to the home plate ump. Get him out of there mgr.
    GO,BUCS!!! Reds lost.

  61. A dinky bouncing infield single breaks it up with 2 outs. HA HA.

  62. Zimmerman on soft grounder breaks up no hitter.

  63. Raise your hand if you just screamed “oh no!” or any other choice words at the TV on that hit.

    Thank you windy city.

  64. Gerit managed to get out of that mess. Wheww.

  65. No-hitter in the “0th” broken up. ;)

  66. Jordy seems like a really nice kid but he is brutal in the field.

  67. Every inning it’s an adventure in the infield. Sheesh.

  68. Basehit ? How will Pedro ever get to 30 / 30 ?

  69. Way to go Justin.

  70. Go Buc’n Nuts Y’all! Playoffs 2013. It’s Been A Long Time Coming!

  71. Why is Morris in there??

  72. Alex Presley is 0-4 tonight with 1 K.
    That is all….

  73. Difference between 2010, and this year………..

    in 2010, Farnsworth would have been counted on to be a closer, or at least set-up guy.
    This year, he is a last guy in the bullpen.
    And I am perfectly fine with that.

    Much improvement in the teams makeup, eh?

  74. Okay. Let’s get this last out. Morneau makes that play to end the game.

  75. Glad the over won tonight.

    #91

    Clint Hurdles prediction isn’t looking so bad

  76. Raise it! Lets go for the sweep tomorrow!

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