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Reds Shutout Bucs in Series Opener

Final: Reds 3, Pirates 0

WP: Mat Latos (10-3, 3.94 ERA)
LP: Wandy Rodriguez (7-10, 3.82 ERA)
SV: Aroldis Chapman (24, 1.37 ERA)

The Reds capitalized on two mistakes by Rodriguez, and that was enough as the Pirates’ offense was nonexistent with only one base runner made it to third base.

Chris Heisey hit an inside-the-park homer in the second inning to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. Heisey mashed a hanging curve off the wall that bounced back towards the infield, allowing him to score. He was called safe on a play at the plate. Replays would show that Heisey appeared out at home.

Then, in the sixth inning, pitcher Mat Latos delivered the death-blow, hitting a two-run homer on a first pitch fastball with two outs to extend the Reds’ lead.

It seemed like each time the Pirates got something going, they would squander it, as they hit into three different double plays.

Wandy Rodriguez had a much better start tonight than he had in his debut outing. He went seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter. It took him just 88 pitches to get through those seven innings and most likely would have been sent out for the eight his spot not come up in the top half.

Andrew McCutchen was 1 for 3. But the big story line was him getting hit with two outs in the ninth inning by Aroldis Chapman with a 101 mph fastball up and in off his shoulder. It was easily the angriest I’ve ever seen him. There could very well be some retaliation Saturday night for that.

Chad Qualls made his Pirates debut pitching a 1-2-3 eighth inning. He got two groundouts and a strikeout of Ryan Ludwick to finish the frame.

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Game 105 Live Chat: Pirates vs Reds

Published on August 3, 2012 by in Live Blogs

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Jones, Fort Lead the Way in 8-4 Win Over Cubs

Final: Pirates 8, Cubs 4

WP: Jeff Karstens (4-2, 3.70 ERA)
LP: Travis Wood (4-7, 4.90 ERA)

Jeff Karstens held the Cubs to just one run over five innings and the Pirates offense busted out 13 hits and eight runs as the Bucs breezed to pick up the series win.

Karstens gave up a solo homer to Starlin Castro in the first inning, but settled in after that.

The Pirates countered in the third with a solo home run by Starling Marte and later scored again that inning thanks to a balk call.

The game remained at 2-1 until the eighth inning when Garrett Jones delivered a two-run, pinch-hit single to extend the Pirates lead to 4-1. After a single by Travis Snider, Michael McKenry blasted a three-run homer to put the game out of reach. Jones doubled in another run in the ninth to cap off the afternoon for the Bucs’ offense.

Joel Hanrahan came on to close things out in the ninth with an 8-1 lead and gave up three runs on five hits, including a two-run homer by Wellington Castillo. He did strike out the side, however.

Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 3 with a double and two walks. He seems to be getting back into the swing of things after a “mini slump” over the past two weeks.

Michael McKenry’s homer in the eighth was his tenth of the season. He is hitting a home run every 13.2 at-bats. If he had the necessary at-bats to qualify, that would be the second best number in the Majors behind only Ryan Braun‘s 12.8 AB/HR.

Gaby Sanchez made his Pirates debut in the cleanup spot. He went 0 for 2 with a walk before giving way to Jones in the eighth inning.

The Pirates are now 60-44 and will be off Thursday before a pivotal series with the first place Reds this weekend. At this point of the season in 1992, the Bucs were 56-48.

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Kovacevic: Alfonso Soriano Declined Any Trade to Pirates

Published on August 1, 2012 by in Rumors

Dejan Kovacevic reported this evening that Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano told the Cubs he would not accept a trade to the Pirates.

Soriano would have been an intriguing trade target as he is still a very productive player and is signed through the 2014 season. He’s owed $18 million in each of the next two seasons, so the only way he was going anywhere was if Chicago picked up quite a bit of his salary. But the Cubs did express that they would be willing to take on salary in any trades in return of prospects.

Soriano also declined a trade to San Francisco, so it is safe to say he has a pretty short list overall. I mean, Pittsburgh and San Francisco are two pretty awesome cities. Perhaps he just really wants to stay in one place.

The now 36-year-old is hitting .272/.322/.499 with 19 home runs and is well like by defensive metrics ever since moving to left field. In fact, he leads all Major League left fielders this season in UZR.

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Game 104 Live Chat: Pirates vs Cubs

Published on August 1, 2012 by in Live Blogs

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A.J. Burnett Masterful in One-Hit Shutout of Cubs

Final: Pirates 5, Cubs 0

WP: A.J. Burnett (13-3, 3.27 ERA)
LP: Casey Coleman (0-2, 7.40 ERA)

A.J. Burnett continues his amazing bounce back season. Tonight, he carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Adrian Cardenas‘ pinch-hit single to right field with two outs was all the Cubs could muster off the veteran right-hander.

Burnett finished the game with a complete game shutout, striking out eight and walking two. It was Burnett’s first complete game since 2010 and first shutout since he was a member of the Blue Jays in 2006.

Neil Walker provided the offense for the Pirates with a grand slam in the first inning, his 11th home run of the year. He picked up his fifth RBI of the game in the seventh with a sacrifice fly to score Travis Snider.

Travis Snider went 1 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored in his Pirates debut. It looks like he will be slotted in the two-hole, playing right field. His one hit was an infield hit. He’s fitting in nicely, I guess.

Andrew McCutchen had a nice day at the plate going 3 for 5 with a double. The two-bagger was laced to right field and was probably the hardest ball he’s hit in a good week or so.

Pedro Alvarez also had a good game at the plate going 2 for 3 with a double and a walk. The double was his first extra base hit in nine games.

The Pirates are now 59-44, which puts them three games back of the Reds in the NL Central, who are now the owners of the best record in Major League Baseball. This weekend’s series is going to be huge.

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