August 9, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder Jason Kubel (left) is welcomed at home plate by Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill (2) after Kubel hit a two run homerun scoring both men against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Diamondbacks Vs. Pirates: Bucs Lose, Split Series

Jason Kubel homered twice to help beat the Pirates 6-3 on Thursday.

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Diamondbacks Vs. Pirates: Jason Kubel Hits 2 Homers In 6-3 Arizona Win

Jason Kubel homered twice to help the Diamondbacks to a 6-3 win over the Pirates on Thursday, splitting the series.

Wandy Rodriguez promptly gave up a double to Aaron Hill and Kubel's first home run, to right field, in the first inning to put Arizona up 2-0. The Bucs came back in the bottom of the second to go up 3-2 when Gaby Sanchez and Neil Walker singled, and Michael McKenry brought home Sanchez with a single of his own. Jordy Mercer brought Walker home on a sacrifice fly, and Starling Marte brought McKenry home with a single.

In the sixth, however, the Diamondbacks took a 4-3 lead with a two-run homer by Wil Nieves. Jared Hughes relieved Rodriguez in the seventh and allowed yet another two-run blast by Kubel to put Arizona up 6-3.

Jeff Locke made his 2012 major-league debut in relief of Hughes in the seventh and retired seven straight batters to get through the ninth, keeping the ball down and showing good movement on his pitches. But the Pirates couldn't do anything more against Joe Saunders and Arizona's bullpen.

The Pirates next host the San Diego Padres for a three-game series.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Diamondbacks, there's AZ Snake Pit.


Diamondbacks Vs. Pirates Lineups: Michael McKenry, Jordy Mercer Start

Here are the lineups for Thursday's 4:05 p.m. contest between the Pirates and Diamondbacks:

Willie Bloomquist SS
Aaron Hill 2B
Jason Kubel LF
Paul Goldschmidt 1B
Justin Upton RF
Chris Johnson 3B
Chris Young CF
Wil Nieves C
Joe Saunders P

Starling Marte LF
Josh Harrison 3B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Gaby Sanchez 1B
Neil Walker 2B
Michael McKenry C
Travis Snider RF
Jordy Mercer SS
Wandy Rodriguez P

The Pirates are sending out a very new-looking lineup, featuring new trade acquisitions Gaby Sanchez (who typically will start against lefties like Saunders) and Travis Snider, along with rookies Starling Marte and Jordy Mercer. Pirates fans will likely be happy to see Mercer (who hit his first big-league homer Wednesday) and the hot-hitting Michael McKenry in place of Clint Barmes and Rod Barajas, respectively. Also, Josh Harrison starts in place of Pedro Alvarez at third base, presumably because of the lefty on the hill.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Diamondbacks, there's AZ Snake Pit.


Diamondbacks Vs. Pirates Preview: Pittsburgh Can Cut Into NL Central Lead

With four consecutive losses, the Cincinnati Reds have finally slowed down and their 2.5-game lead for the NL Central looks far from safe from the Pittsburgh Pirates. With a win on Wednesday night, the Pirates got one game closer to the division lead and can look to continue to do so on Thursday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

To get the win, though, pitcher Wandy Rodriguez will have to get back on track after losing four of his last five starts with one game in which he didn't earn the decision. In his last start, Rodriguez allowed two home runs in seven innings to the Cincinnati Reds.

Rodriguez will look to get back on track when he faces Joe Saunders, who has lost back to back starts of his own. In his last start Saunders was pulled in the seventh inning after allowing two runs and six hits en route to a loss from the Phillies.

Thursday's game at PNC Park is scheduled to start at 4:05 p.m. and will be televised on ROOT Sports and Fox Sports Arizona.

For more on the Diamondbacks, check out AZ Snake Pit. For more on the Pirates, there's Bucs Dugout.


Diamondbacks Vs. Pirates Final Score: Pittsburgh Holds On To Win 7-6

The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to hang on and pickup an important victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday evening. The Pirates are in the thick of the NL Central race and every victory is important. The Diamondbacks took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a Chris Johnson RBI single and a Paul Goldschmidt sacrifice fly.

A Neil Walker three-run home run quickly gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead in the game in the bottom of the inning however. Two innings later Sterling Marte powered in a home run to push the lead to 4-2.

The Diamondbacks rallied to tie the game a few innings later at 4-4, but Neil Walker knocked in two more runs in the bottom of the same inning giving him a total of five RBI on the night and the Pirates a 6-4 lead.

Jordy Mercer made it three home runs for the Pirates on the evening adding another insurance run. Arizona added two more runs late, but couldn't pull off the rally as the Pirates held on to win 7-6.

For more on the Diamondbacks, check out AZ Snake Pit. For more on the Pirates, there's Bucs Dugout.


Diamondbacks Vs. Pirates: Kevin Correia To Spot-Start Against Ian Kennedy

Ian Kennedy takes on Kevin Correia as the Pirates continue their series against the Diamondbacks Wednesday night at 7:05.

Correia is making a spot start, giving the Pirates' rotation an extra day of rest in the midst of a brutal 20 straight days without an off day.

Of course, when a team uses a spot starter, they're rarely the favorite, and that's the case here. Correia made one relief appearance after being bumped from the rotation in favor of newly-acquired Wandy Rodriguez, and in that relief appearance, Correia allowed four earned runs against the Astros. He won his last six decisions, but has a mediocre performance record overall. Kennedy, meanwhile, has struck out 24 batters and walked just three in his last six starts. His main vulnerability this year has been the home run -- he's allowed 19 so far this year. Part of that is a function of pitching in a tough home park, but hopefully the Pirates, as a good home-run-hitting team, can take advantage Wednesday night at PNC.

For more on the Diamondbacks, check out AZ Snake Pit. For more on the Pirates, there's Bucs Dugout.


Diamondbacks Vs. Pirates Recap: Chris Johnson's 2 Late-Inning Homers Beat Bucs, 10-4

Diamondbacks infielder Chris Johnson hit three-run homers in both the eighth and ninth innings Tuesday to turn what had been a close game into a 10-4 blowout.

The Diamondbacks and Pirates traded runs in the first and third innings, with Stephen Drew blasting a solo homer over the Clemente Wall in the third. Arizona then took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on Drew's RBI single.

The Bucs took a 4-3 lead in the seventh, though, thanks to a towering solo home run by rookie Starling Marte and a sacrifice fly by Neil Walker.

In the eighth, the Pirates brought out setup man Jason Grilli, their best reliever this year. Grilli had a rare meltdown, giving up four straight hits that ended with Johnson's first three-run bomb, a shot to center that landed in the front row.

The Diamondbacks had a 7-4 lead at that point, but they continued to wail on the Pirates' relievers, with Miguel Montero hitting an RBI double and Johnson hitting another homer, this time a two-run blast that went, appropriately enough, into the Bucs' bullpen.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Pirates Vs. Diamondbacks: Tuesday Starting Lineups

One night removed from a 4-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, moving them within another game of the Cincinnati Reds in the N.L. Central standings, the Pittsburgh Pirates look to keep pace with their division foes. The Reds will again face the Milwaukee Brewers, and meanwhile, the Bucs are set to square off against Arizona.

Within 3.5 games of the Reds, the Pirates will send Jeff Karstens to the mound in the hope of capturing their third consecutive win. Karstens has posted rather modest numbers with a 4-2 mark and 3.70 ERA in 10 starts this season. But his previous start against Arizona didn't go particularly well. On April 17, he was forced to leave the game against the Diamondbacks after a two-run first inning because of shoulder inflammation.

Here's the rest of the starting lineups for Pittsburgh for Tuesday night's contest, courtesy of the team's official Twitter account:

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EST and will be televised by ROOT Sports.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Pirates Vs. Diamondbacks Preview: Jeff Karstens Set To Start For Pittsburgh

The Pirates now stand 3.5 games back of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central standings. Though they have a 2.5 game cushion in the wild card standings, the Pirates are still trying their hardest to win the division for the first time since 1992. They play the second game of a four game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday.

The Pirates will send Jeff Karstens (4-2, 3.70 ERA) to the hill. In his last start on August 1 against the Chicago Cubs, Karstens lasted five innings allowing one run on three hits.

The Diamondbacks will send pitcher Patrick Corbin to the mound. In his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 1, Corbin threw six shutout innings, allowing only two hits.

The game is set for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch from PNC Park. The game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports, and radio coverage will be provided by 93.7 KDKA FM.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Diamondbacks Vs. Pirates Recap: Erik Bedard Solid In 4-0 Bucs Win

In Erik Bedard's last start, the Chicago Cubs exploded for a nine-run inning en route to a blowout of the Bucs. But Bedard rebounded in a big way on Monday night against the Diamondbacks by throwing seven scoreless innings and clinching a 4-0 win. The lefty allowed just two hits against the Dbacks, striking out five and walking none in a dominating performance.

And Pittsburgh needed a strong outing from Bedard because Wade Miley kept the Pirate offense from breaking through until a late-inning rally provided some insurance. The Bucs finally ended the scoreless tie and manufactured a run in the bottom of the fourth, with Andrew McCutchen getting on base and taking advantage of back-to-back errors by Arizona. McCutchen singled to center and errors credited to Chris Young and Willie Bloomquist on the play quickly put him on third. He would come home on the very next batter, Gaby Sanchez, who sent a grounder to the left side that allowed McCutchen to make a dash to the plate.

Pittsburgh would then add three runs of insurance in the bottom of the eighth to seal this one up. Back to back singles by McCutchen and Sanchez set the table for Neil Walker. Kirk Gibson made the call for Mike Zagurski and Walker placed one nicely to short, scoring McCutchen from third. Travis Snider then singled home the other new Buc Sanchez to make it 3-0. The rally was capped with a Rod Barajas sac fly, pushing the lead to four.

After the tidy series-opening win, Jeff Karstens will take the ball in the second of the four-game set on Tuesday night.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Pirates Vs. Diamondbacks Lineups: Erik Bedard Starts As Gaby Sanchez And Garret Jones Swap Spots In Batting Order

The Pittsburgh Pirates start a four game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night at PNC Park. Erik Bedard (5-12, 4.83 ERA) will start for the Pirates on Monday, looking to improve his record any way he can. The only major change in the lineup is first baseman Gaby Sanchez and right fielder Garrett Jones swap positions in the batting order, with Sanchez batting clean up and Jones batting No. 6.

Here is the rest of the Pirates' lineup.

1. Starling Marte (R) LF
2. Josh Harrison (R) 3B
3. Andrew McCutchen (R) CF
4. Gaby Sanchez (R) 1B
5. Neil Walker (S) 2B
6. Garrett Jones (L) RF
7. Rod Barajas (R) C
8. Clint Barmes (R) SS
9. Erik Bedard (L) P

The Arizona Diamondbacks will counter with pitcher Wade Miley (12-6, 2.98) on Monday. Miley is coming off a start against the Los Angeles Dodgers where he allowed only one run on three hits over eight innings.

Here is the rest of the Diamondbacks' lineup.

The game is set for a 7:05 first pitch. Television coverage will be provided by Root Sports with radio coverage on 93.7 FM KDKA.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.


Kevin Correia To Spot Start For Pirates Against Diamondbacks

Kevin Correia was booted from the Pirates' rotation when Wandy Rodriguez arrived, but he'll make a spot start next week.

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