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Minor league report 7/2

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about 8 hours ago

INDIANAPOLIS (49-32) beat Toledo, 7-3. RHP Wilfredo Boscan (6-3, 3.89) was the winner, giving up 3 runs – 2 earned – and 7 hits in 5 2/3 innings. DH Corey Hart (.222) hit a 2-run homer. RF Jose Tabata (.354) doubled twice and scored 2 runs.

ALTOONA (43-36) lost to Trenton, 11-3. RHP Jason Creasy (8-2, 3.55) was the loser, allowing 7 runs and 8 hits in 4 innings. LF Jose Osuna (.298) went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs. DH Stetson Allie (.206) homered.

BRADENTON (37-41) beat Charlotte, 7-3. RHP Tyler Eppler (1-1, 5.40) was the winner, allowing 1 run and 2 hits in 5 innings. 1B Edwin Espinal (.269) went 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs. 3B Wyatt Mathisen (.293) went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs.

WEST VIRGINIA POWER (44-33) beat Kannapolis, 5-1. LHP Stephen Tarpley (4-2, 2.57) was the winner, giving up 3 runs and 1 hit in 7 innings. RF Michael Suchy (.279) went 2 for 3 with a home run and 3 RBIs. DH Jerrick Suiter (.317) went 3 for 3.

WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEARS (6-7) beat State College, 7-1. RHP Stephan Meyer (3.38) allowed 1 run and 5 hits in 2 2/3 innings. LHP Andy Otamendi (1-0, 1.42) was the winner. C Christian Kelley (.192) went 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs.

GCL PIRATES (6-3) beat GCL Tigers, 3-2. RHP Chris Plitt (0.00) gave up 1 hit in 3 scoreless innings. RHP Gerardo Navarro (2-0, 1.80) was the winner. CF Michael De La Cruz (.297) and LF Eric Thomas (.261) each went 2 for 4.

BRISTOL (3-6) vs. Bristol, ppd.


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Pirates pregame: Liriano vs. Ryan

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about 20 hours ago


LHP Francisco Liriano (Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

Game: Pirates (43-33) at Tigers (39-37)

Time: 1:08 p.m.

Site: Comerica Park

TV, radio: ROOT Sports, KDKA-FM 93.7

Weather: 72 and mostly sunny


Pirates

1. Josh Harrison 3B

2. Jordy Mercer SS

3. Andrew McCutchen DH

4. Starling Marte CF

5. Jung Ho Kang 3B

6. Francisco Cervelli C

7. Neil Walker 2B

8. Gregory Polanco RF

9. Sean Rodriguez 1B

Francisco Liriano LHP

Tigers

1. Rajai Davis CF

2. Ian Kinsler 2B

3. Miguel Cabrera 1B

4. Victor Martinez DH

5. Yoenis Cespedes LF

6. J.D. Martinez RF

7. Nick Castellanos 3B

8. Bryan Holaday C

9. Jose Iglesias SS

Kyle Ryan LHP


Clint Hurdle was asked, again, if he had any stories about growing up as a Tigers fan. He did, of course, and it was good. It’s never not good.

"My story would always be the trip we'd make from Big Rapids. My mom and dad would pile us in the car, and we'd come up here, make the drive, and show up for a weekend series. It was very similar to heading to the Wizard of Oz. We were headed to the Emerald City. Not a lot big buildings in Big Rapids. When we'd get outside the city limts, you'd see the big buildings and think, man, this is going to be great. You'd get to the stadium, Tiger Stadium, and it was a museum on top of being a ballpark. I can remember the smells like they were yesterday. The peanuts, the popcorn — well, I guess you can't smell peanuts 'til you crack them open — the smell of the grass, the fresh unis, the old English 'D' on your chest. It takes me back to when I was young, and I have those same feelings every time we drive in here coming into the city. It never gets old, and it's never not good."

• It’s the Pirates’ annual fathers’ trip here in Detroit. Plenty of new (yet eerily familiar) faces around the clubhouse. Sixteen fathers — dads of the trainig staff, coaching staff and players — seeing how their sons live. Here’s Hurdle: "They've got a big responsibility tomorrow night. They're all going to go out and throw out the first pitch against the Indians before the game, so they've all been loosening up, getting their arms ready. Got to make sure we don't have anybody bounce it or overshoot it. And then it's just baseball talk. My dad and I get up every morning and walk over (in Birmingham) to have coffee. We chat things up, we chat things up on the way home. It's fun to hang out. It's fun to have him in the office. I know the kids out there, the players, feel the same way. Their dads have a much better understanding of what their sons walk through and go through on a daily basis. We had them involved in our scout meeting the other day. They all come out like, 'That's what you guys do all the time?' Yeah, that's what we do and how we do it. They are memories that will last a lifetime. They're always precious when you can get a father and son together for three or four days. You need to take advantage of it."

• Gregory Polanco making just his second start vs. a left-hander today. He had three hits last night, so this is a chance to try to keep him in a rhythm and see if his success will translate against a lefty. "We're going to find out,“ Hurdle said. ”That's why he's playing. I like the way he's swinging the bat, so we'll run him out there and see."

• The Pirates had 21 hits last night for the first time since 2004. That last time? It happened against Hurdle’s Colorado Rockies. "We talked about it on the bus last night,” he said. ”I like to tag things, and I can remember walking out of the ballpark after being beat up by them. I was going, 21 hits, that's Clemente's number, I'll probably hold onto this one for a while. Unfortunately, I'll remember this for a while. So, yeah, I've seen the last two 21-hit games by the Pirates, 11 years apart.“


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Burnett keeps chugging along, is 'curious' to see All-Star results

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 1 day ago

DETROIT — It still feels, to some extent, like folks are waiting for A.J. Burnett to fall apart. Well, 16 starts into the season, he’s far exceeded the plans the Pirates had for him this season. When I asked Neal Huntington before spring training what the Pirates are expecting from Burnett, he said this ...

"Don't expect 2013. Don't expect 2014. The thought is he'll be somewhere in between, and we're working hard to help him be closer to 2013 than 2014."

In 2013, Burnett was 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA and a career-best 3.12 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

In 2014, Burnett was 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA and led the majors in earned runs and walks.

In 2015, Burnett is 7-3 with a 2.05 ERA and a 3.33 strikeout-to-walk, a new career-best mark.

Wednesday night, the Pirates bats came to life in a big way, like 21 hits and four home runs big, and Burnett stayed the course to go 7 innings allowing 7 hits and 2 earned runs, striking out 4 and walking none. He threw a first-pitch strike to 24 of 29 batters. That’s efficiency. That’s how to eat up innings after your bullpen just won you a 14-inning game the night before.

"It's never just another game,“ Burnett said. ”I take the mound every time as if they bullpen gets a day off. It's not going to happen all the time, but I try to program myself where I'm going out on the mound and I'm going to go deep into the game so these guys can get a day off."

The All-Star teams will be named later this week. It could be the first time in his career Burnett makes the All-Star Game. Is he anticipating the announcement?

"I'm curious,” he said. ”But it ain't gonna change the way I go about anything. I've a side in two days and then another start. That's all I'm worried about."


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Minor league report 7/1

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 1 day ago

INDIANAPOLIS (48-32) defeated Columbus, 2-1. RHP Radhames Liz (1-1, 0.63) picked up his first win since being sent down by the Pirates as he allowed 1 earned run on 3 hits in 5 innings while walking 2 and striking out 7. Blake Wood worked the ninth and picked up his 20th save. 2B Alen Hanson (.292) was the offensive catalyst as he went 3 for 4 with a homer and scored 2 runs.

ALTOONA (43-35) defeated Trenton, 2-0. LHP Steven Brault (1-1, 2.08) allowed 1 hit over 7 shutout innings for the win. SS Max Moroff (.325) was 2 for 4, while 3B Eric Wood (.218) and RF Stetson Allie (.205) each knocked in a run.

BRADENTON (36-41) lost to Charlotte, 5-2. RHP Frank Duncan (4-4, 5.26) allowed 3 runs on 8 hits, including a pair of homers, in 7 innings. 3B Wyatt Mathisen (.285) was 2 for 3 with a double and was the only Marauders player with 2 hits.

WEST VIRGINIA POWER (43-33) defeated Kannapolis, 11-4. RHP Austin Coley (10-4, 3.94) became the first pitcher in the South Atlantic League to reach double-digit wins as he surrendered 2 runs on 5 hits in 5 innings. SS Cole Tucker (.293) went 4 for 5 with a double and scored 3 runs out of the leadoff slot. DH Michael Suchy (.273) was 2 for 4 with a 3-run homer and 4 RBIs.

WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEARS (5-7) lost to State College, 5-2. RHP Dario Agrazal (1-1, 2.81) gave up 2 earned runs on 6 hits in 5 innings. LF Ty Moore (.385) went 2 for 3 with a double and 1B Albert Baur was 2 for 4.

BRISTOL (3-5) Game with Elizabethton ended late.

GCL PIRATES (5-3) defeated the Tigers, 3-1. RHP Alex Martinez (1-0, 4.70) allowed 1 run on 2 hits and fanned 3 in 3 innings of relief for the win. Starter Seth McGarry pitched 4 shutout innings and did not allow a hit while striking out 3. 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes (.500) was 3 for 4 with a double, triple and scored 3 runs. 1B Sam Kennelly (.233) was 2 for 3 with 1 RBI.


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Pirates pregame: Burnett vs. Simon

By Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 1 day ago


RHP A.J. Burnett (Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

Game: Pirates (43-33) at Tigers (39-37)

Time: 7:08 p.m.

Site: Comerica Park

TV, radio: ROOT Sports, KDKA-FM 93.7

Weather: 70 and partly cloudy


Pirates

1. Josh Harrison 3B

2. Neil Walker 2B

3. Andrew McCutchen CF

4. Starling Marte LF

5. Pedro Alvarez DH

6. Francisco Cervelli C

7. Gregory Polanc RF

8. Jordy Mercer SS

9. Sean Rodriguez 1B

A.J. Burnett RHP

Tigers

1. Rajai Davis CF

2. Ian Kinsler 2B

3. Miguel Cabrera 1B

4. Victor Martinez DH

5. Yoenis Cespedes LF

6. J.D. Martinez RF

7. Nick Castellanos 3B

8. James McCann C

9. Jose Iglesias SS

Alfredo Simon RHP


• Starling Marte’s bunt singe last night, hit hard and right down the line, nearly got past Miguel Cabrera behind first base. "A little harder and he might have had a double," Clint Hurdle said. The Pirates think they can expose the Tigers corner infielders with bunts this series, and with Justin Verlander and his balky back on the mound, it made sense to have Marte lay one down. "Marte went in with a different angle we hadn't used before," Hurdle said with a grin. "Maybe that's something we can factor in and use a little more in the future. Beat 'em down the line."

• Pirates ended June 43-33 and are eight games back of the St. Louis Cardinals. "We've done some very good things this year,“ Hurdle said. ”We have some areas that need work and improvement. We don't turn our head on the mistakes that are made and challenges that come our way. We're working every day to find a better rhythm and path. These guys are connected at the hip. They play hard for one another. They respect one another. They back one another. They all know what's at stake."

• Another good outing Tuesday by left-hander Antonio Bastardo, who has made sevens straight scoreless appearances: "We're past gaining confidence,“ Hurdle said. ”This guy is getting things done." ... "This guy is hard to hit. There's a lot of swing and miss. There's a lot of fly ball. It's there. It's playing. His command, his strike throwing has ramped up dramatically from what we saw in April and early May. There's no doubt. He's the guy we thought we were getting in the trade."

• Corey Hart went 1 for 4 with an RBI Tuesday in his first rehab start at Class AAA Indianapolis. He even scored from first on a play. "[Manager Dean Treanor] said they almost had a conversation rounding third,“ Hurdle joked. ”Corey felt he was good at third, and Dean said wait a minute, I think we can go one more. He went ahead and waved him, and he was able to score."


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