Oct 1, 2013, 11:27 PM EDT
The Pirates are heading to their first-ever NLDS.
Francisco Liriano allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings and Russell Martin homered twice as the Bucs cruised to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Reds in the National League Wild Card Game on Tuesday night at a sold-out and rowdy PNC Park.
Liriano had everything working — especially his changeup and slider — and used an aggressive approach to carve his way through the Reds’ lefty-heavy lineup. Joey Votto, Shin-Soo Choo and Jay Bruce — all left-handed hitters — went a combined 1-for-8 with four strikeouts against Pittsburgh’s ace southpaw. Liriano needed only 90 pitches, 64 of which went for strikes.
Martin was the big offensive star, but the Pirates got contributions from players up and down their starting lineup. Andrew McCutchen reached base in four of his five plate appearances and Neil Walker, Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez all produced RBI. Jason Grilli closed it out with a perfect top-of-the-ninth.
The Pirates — who last reached the postseason in 1992, when the Division Series did not exist — will open their best-of-five showdown with the Cardinals in St. Louis on Thursday evening. The Cardinals will want to take both of those first two home games because the crowd at PNC Park can be a real difference-maker.
There were 40,487 fans there Tuesday — a park record — and countless others draped across the Roberto Clemente Bridge. The all-black outfits, the chants and the constant noise clearly rattled the Reds’ pitchers. It’s a perfect environment for postseason baseball as anyone tuning in on Tuesday night could see.
Sep 14, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT
The Athletics changed up their starting rotation order so that Sonny Gray lines up to pitch the final game of the season on the road against the Rangers.
Sep 14, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT
Jose Abreu tied a White Sox rookie record when he hit his 35th home run in the ninth inning of Sunday’s loss to the Twins.
Sep 14, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
Rafael Soriano has made some mechanical adjustments but the Nationals aren’t ready to hand him back the closer’s role yet.
Sep 14, 2014, 8:35 PM EDT
Adrian Gonzalez thinks anyone who doesn’t think Clayton Kershaw is the NL MVP is an “idiot”. He’s not wrong.
Sep 14, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT
Joaquin Benoit should rejoin the Padres late this week. He threw a side session on Sunday afternoon and will do so again on Tuesday before he gets the go-ahead.
Sep 14, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT
Royals manager Ned Yost wanted a strikeout, so he brought in Aaron Crow, who has the bullpen’s lowest strikeout rate.
Sep 14, 2014, 6:05 PM EDT
Jonathan Papelbon blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Sunday and responded to fans’ booing with what appeared to be a rude gesture.
Sep 14, 2014, 5:11 PM EDT
From Diario De Cuba comes word that left-handed starting pitcher Yasmany Hernandez has defected from his native country with the goal of signing a contract this winter with a major league team. Hernandez led Cuba’s Serie Nacional with a 1.66 ERA in 19 starts during the 2013-2014 season …
Sep 14, 2014, 4:23 PM EDT
Marco Gonzales is starting in place of Michael Wacha on Sunday afternoon against the Rockies, with manager Mike Matheny acknowledging to the media late last week that Wacha hasn’t looked quite right since returning on September 4 from a stress reaction in his right shoulder. It’s not clear what the plan is for Wacha, but he hasn’t been shut down.
Sep 14, 2014, 3:35 PM EDT
Watch as Josh Harrison starts this around-the-horn triple play Sunday in Pittsburgh …
Sep 14, 2014, 2:43 PM EDT
We’re gonna have to hold you to this, Jose …
Sep 14, 2014, 1:39 PM EDT
Matt Adams is out of the Cardinals’ lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Rockies due to lingering tightness in his left oblique, according to Stan McNeal of FOX Sports Midwest. It’s something that Adams has been dealing with for much of this month. He’s just 7-for-41 (.189) since August 31.
Sep 14, 2014, 12:44 PM EDT
Yasmani Tomas, 23, could be the next Cuban defector to hit it big — record-breakingly big — on Major League Baseball’s free agent market. Via Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe …
Sep 14, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
Reds right-hander Mat Latos was scratched from his scheduled start Friday against the Brewers due to a bone bruise in his pitching elbow. It’s not believed to be a serious injury, but the regular season is over in two weeks and Cincinnati enters play Sunday with a record of 71-78. So there’s no reason to push it.
Sep 14, 2014, 11:08 AM EDT
Matt Szczur was ranked a Top 100 prospect by Baseball America in 2012, but he never quite met that hype and batted just .261/.315/.312 with one home run in 116 games this season at Triple-A Iowa. So knocking one out of PNC Park was both a relief and a surprise for the 25-year-old.
Sep 14, 2014, 10:22 AM EDT
Torii Hunter is 39 years old and his defense has rated very poorly this season in the outfield, but he made a game-saving catch in the Tigers’ 5-4 defeat of the Indians on Saturday night at Comerica Park …
Sep 14, 2014, 9:35 AM EDT
The Giants didn’t have a whole lot worth celebrating in Saturday night’s 17-0 blowout loss to the visiting Dodgers, but this was a pretty cool moment in the top of the seventh inning …
Sep 14, 2014, 8:58 AM EDT
The Tigers were trailing the Indians heading into the bottom of the eighth inning Saturday night at Detroit’s Comerica Park and a loss would have put them back behind the Royals — who defeated the Red Sox on Saturday — in the American League Central standings. That’s when Alex Avila came through with probably his biggest hit of what has been a tough 2014 …
Sep 14, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT
The Dodgers scored two touchdowns with the ensuing extra points, and kicked a field goal against the Giants on Saturday night. It was a bloodbath.
Sep 13, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT
Zack Wheeler threw a fastball to Bryce Harper in the second inning that he’d like to take back, if possible.
- Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas to command $100 million? 18
- Bruce and Brett Bochy make MLB history 29
- Settling the Score: Saturday’s results 17
- Zack Greinke homers, Dodgers demolish the Giants 17-0 at AT&T Park 19
- Frank Torre: 1931-2014 6
- Settling the Score: Friday’s results 46
- Bud Selig can’t remember the last domestic violence incident in Major League Baseball 86
- Chris Davis suspended 25 games for amphetamine use 92
- Chris Davis suspended 25 games for amphetamine use (92)
- A few thoughts about the discrimination lawsuit against the Mets (91)
- Giancarlo Stanton diagnosed with multiple facial fractures and dental damage (91)
- Bud Selig can’t remember the last domestic violence incident in Major League Baseball (86)
- A couple of initial thoughts on the Chris Davis suspension (83)