PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 10: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with teammates after hitting a two run home run in the third inning against the Kansas City Royals during interleague play on June 10, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Pirates Vs. Royals: A.J. Burnett, Andrew McCutchen Help Bucs Finish Sweep, Move To First Place

The Pirates are now 32-27 after finishing a sweep of the Royals Sunday afternoon.

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MLB Standings: Pirates In First Place After Reds Loss

It’s mid-June, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are back in first place.

The Pirates moved into a tie with the Cincinnati Reds atop the NL Central Sunday night when the Reds lost, 7-6, to the Detroit Tigers. The Reds have lost their last two games and five of their last seven. That includes two of three in a recent series against the Pirates.

The Bucs, as you probably know, are on a tear, winning their last four and 12 of their last 15, including winning five series in a row.

The Bucs have interleague road series coming up against the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians, followed by home series against the Minnesota Twins and the Tigers. The Pirates have still scored 17 fewer runs than they’ve allowed despite a 32-27 record, so it remains to be seen whether they can keep this up.

The St. Louis Cardinals are two games back, and the Milwaukee Brewers are 4.5 games back.

For the full MLB standings, click here.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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Royals Vs. Pirates Score: Andrew McCutchen, A.J. Burnett Key 3-2 Victory As Bucs Sweep Royals

The Pirates moved to within a half a game of first place as Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Burnett led the Bucs to a 3-2 victory over the Royals Sunday afternoon.

The Pirates are currently 32-27. The first-place Reds, currently 32-26, host the Detroit Tigers Sunday night at 8:00.

McCutchen knocked in an RBI double in the bottom of the first inning to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead, then hit a two-run homer in the third to put the Pirates up 3-0.

Burnett, meanwhile, took a no-hitter into the sixth. In the seventh, Brayan Pena and Alcides Escobar both doubled to cut the lead to 3-1. The Pirates allowed another run in a walk-filled eighth, but outfielder Mitch Maier — who had duped the umpires by faking an amazing diving-over-the-wall catch in the bottom of the seventh — was rung up looking with two outs and the bases loaded.

Jason Grilli, who came on to pitch the ninth to give Joel Hanrahan some rest, notched the save.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Royals, there’s Royals Review.

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Royals Vs. Pirates Lineups: Kansas City Will Sit Two Big Right-Handed Bats Against A.J. Burnett

The Pittsburgh Pirates take the field on Sunday with their home ace on the hill, looking for their first interleague series sweep since 2001. Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett sports the best home ERA in the National League, and is 3-0 with a 1.02 ERA in five PNC Park starts. Here is Sunday's full Pirates lineup, via the team's official twitter feed:

The Royals lineup has also been announced for Sunday's game. Right-handed batters Jeff Francoeur and Billy Butler will sit against Burnett. Via Joel Goldberg of Fox Sports Kansas City:

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Royals, there's Royals Review. Still not enough baseball for you? Head on over to SB Nation's MLB Hub Page,Baseball Nation, for all the latest news from all 30 MLB teams.

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Royals Vs. Pirates: A.J. Burnett Looks To Pitch Pittsburgh To Rare Interleague Sweep

The Pittsburgh Pirates (31-27), after years of home futility, are finally starting to pile up the wins at PNC Park, and new Pirate A.J. Burnett (5-2, 3.76 ERA) is one of the big reasons why.

The much-maligned former Yankee sports the best home ERA in the National League, and on Sunday against the Kansas City Royals (24-33) will be looking to win his fifth straight home start. Burnett is 3-0 with a 1.02 ERA in five PNC Park starts.

Kansas City will counter with the nomadic Bruce Chen (5-5, 4.37 ERA), who has enjoyed some success of late. The lefty is 5-1 with a 3.79 ERA in six starts since May 9. However, in his career, Chen is 0-4 with a 6.20 ERA against the Pirates in five starts.

A win by Pittsburgh on Sunday would complete their first interleague sweep since 2001.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Royals, there's Royals Review. Still not enough baseball for you? Head on over to SB Nation's MLB Hub Page,Baseball Nation, for all the latest news from all 30 MLB teams.

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Pirates Vs. Royals: Pittsburgh Topples Kansas City At Home, 5-3

Turns out, the Pittsburgh Pirates' five-run fourth inning was enough. Trailing 3-0 to the Kansas City Royals (24-33) after three and a half innings at PNC Park on Saturday night, the Pirates (31-27) were able to grab five runs over the course of the inning, taking a 5-3 lead, which ended up being the final score as Pittsburgh grabbed its second win of the weekend series in front of an announced crowd of 39,312 -- the largest since opening. And thanks to that crazy inning, the Pirates trail the first-place Cincinnati Reds by just one game in the N.L. Central.

Starting pitcher James McDonald, who took the mound for Pittsburgh, lasted four innings, allowing three runs. Reliever Jared Hughes, instead, was credited with the win after tossing two and one-third scoreless innings. Joel Hanrahan came in later for the save.

The series finale is scheduled for Sunday at 1:35 p.m. EST. A.J. Burnett will take the hill for the Pirates.

For more on the Pittsburgh Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout, SB Nation's Pirates blog. For more on the Kansas City Royals, there's Royals Review. Still not enough baseball for you? Head on over to SB Nation's MLB Hub Page, Baseball Nation, for all the latest news from all 30 major league teams.

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Pirates Vs. Royals Score Update: Pittsburgh Leads 5-3 After Four Innings

Entering the bottom of the fourth inning against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night at PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates (30-27) had compiled just one run and were scoreless. That quickly changed. Over the course of the fourth inning, Pittsburgh scored five runs to work their way toward a 5-3 lead over the visiting Royals. Shortstop Clint Barmes got the scoring started with a bases-loaded single scoring Rod Barajas.

James McDonald took the mound for Pittsburgh. Thus far, the right-hander has given up five hits, two walks and three earned runs. McDonald, who threw 76 pitches, will not return to the game after Matt Hague came in to pinch hit for him in the bottom half of the inning.

For more on the Pittsburgh Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout, SB Nation's Pirates blog. For more on the Kansas City Royals, there's Royals Review. Still not enough baseball for you? Head on over to SB Nation's MLB Hub Page, Baseball Nation, for all the latest news from all 30 major league teams.

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Royals Vs. Pirates: Game Two Lineups Announced For Pittsburgh And Kansas City

Today's lineups between the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates were revealed on the Bucs Twitter account this afternoon. Here's a look:

Just in case you can't follow the handwriting, the lineups for the Pirates and the Royals are as follows:

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Alex Presley LF
2. Neil Walker 2B
3. Andrew McCutchen CF
4. Garrett Jones 1B
5. Pedro Alvarez 3B
6. Jose Tabata RF
7. Rod Barajas C
8. Clint Barmes SS
9. James McDonald P

Kansas City Royals

1. Alex Gordon LF
2. Yuniesky Betancourt 2B
3. Billy Butler 1B
4. Mike Moustakas 3B
5. Jeff Francoeur CF
6. Eric Hosmer RF
7. Brayan Pena C
8. Alcides Escobar SS
9. Vin Mazzaro P

First pitch for tonight's contest will be at 7:15 PM, EST from PNC Park.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Royals, there's Royals Review. Still not enough baseball for you? Head on over to SB Nation's MLB Hub Page,Baseball Nation, for all the latest news from all 30 MLB teams.

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Royals Vs. Pirates: Pittsburgh Looks To Maintain Winning Ways At Home

The Pittsburgh Pirates (30-27) hope to continue their success at PNC Park this season when they host the Kansas City Royals (24-32) on Saturday evening in the second matchup of a three-game interleague series. Pittsburgh defeated the Royals 4-2 on Friday night, marking their sixth win in their last seven home contests. After struggling mightily at home in recent years, Pittsburgh is 17-11 this season at PNC.

James McDonald (5-2, 2.14 ERA), one of the best pitchers in the big leagues since May 1, takes the mound on Saturday for the Pirates. McDonald has the second-lowest ERA in baseball since that time, at 1.54, and is currently riding a three-game winning streak.

The Royals will send Vin Mazzaro (2-0, 2.25 ERA) to the hill to oppose McDonald. Mazzaro has not fared well against National League teams. He is just 0-5 with a 4.60 ERA in eight starts against the NL.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Royals, there's Royals Review. Still not enough baseball for you? Head on over to SB Nation's MLB Hub Page, Baseball Nation, for all the latest news from all 30 MLB teams.

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Royals Vs. Pirates Recap: Bucs Open Weekend With 4-2 Win Over Kansas City

After a thrilling series win in Cincinnati this week, the Pittsburgh Pirates transitioned to interleague play starting with a weekend series against the Kansas City Royals at PNC Park. The Bucs continued their solid play this month, taking the first game with a 4-2 win. The Bucs' lineup jumped on Royals' starter Luke Hochevar early and spotted Erik Bedard a three-run cushion. Bedard went seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on five hits. Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan came on to pitch two perfect innings of relief and finish off the Royals. Hanrahan looked strong, showing no effects from Thursday night's blown save in Cincinnati.

The offense struck quickly against Hochevar, drawing blood in the first inning on a Garrett Jones double to the gap in right center that scored Neil Walker. The Bucs added two more in a three-hit second inning. Rod Barajas led off the inning with a single and was quickly knocked in by hot-hitting Clint Barmes. After a sacrifice moved Barmes to third, Walker came through with a two-out single to make it 3-0. KC responded with a two-run rally in the next half inning, but that would be all for the Royals as Bedard settled in for the win.

The Bucs will try to take the series on Saturday with the ball in James McDonald's hands. Vin Mazzaro will toe the rubber for Ned Yost in the evening contest at PNC Park.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Royals, there's Royals Review.

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Royals Vs. Pirates Lineups: Erik Bedard Leads Pittsburgh Against Struggling Kansas City

The Pittsburgh Pirates have released their lineup for Friday night's game against the Kansas City Royals. While the Pirates do not have one of the best offenses in the league, they hope to take advantage against a struggling Royals rotation.

With pitcher Erik Bedard starting for the Pirates, left fielder Alex Presley will lead off on Friday. Second baseman Neil Walker and centerfielder Andrew McCutchen will follow him in the order.

Here is the rest of the Pirates lineup.

First baseman Garrett Jones will bat cleanup, followed by third baseman Pedro Alvarez, right fielder Jose Tabata, catcher Rod Barajas and shortstop Clint Barmes before Bedard closes out the lineup for Pittsburgh.

The game is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. start at PNC Park. The game will be televised on ROOT Sports with radio coverage on 93.7 KDKA FM.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Royals, there's Royals Review.

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Royals Vs. Pirates: Bucs Return Home For Interleague Play With First Place In Sight

The Pirates are just two games back in the NL Central, and they have a series against a weak AL opponent coming up.

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