Williams and Ozuna Designated for Assignment

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates have designated pitcher Trevor Williams and utility player José Osuna for assignment. The team made the moves to create room on the 40-man roster for infield prospect Rodolfo Castro and starting pitching prospect Max Kranick. The 28-year-old Williams spent five seasons with the Pirates, the last four as a member of the starting rotation. Williams went 31-37 with a 4.43 ERA in 106 career appearances in Pittsburgh but struggled in each of the last two seasons. Osuna hit .241 in four seasons with the Pirates while bouncing around defensively.

Former Pirate Josh Harrison re-signs with the Washington Nationals

Nationals agree to terms with Harrison on 1-year contract
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with utility man Josh Harrison. The 33-year-old returns to Washington after hitting .278 with two doubles, three home runs, 14 RBIs, six walks and 11 runs scored with the Nationals last season. He hit .309 as a starter as manager Dave Martinez wrote Harrison into the lineup at second base, third base, left field, right field and designated hitter. Harrison is a two-time National League All Star who spent his first eight major league season with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Kershaw, LA stars shine, Dodgers top Rays 8-3 in WS opener

Kershaw, LA stars shine, Dodgers top Rays 8-3 in WS opener
By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers left the Tampa Bay Rays stuck in neutral to open a surreal World Series. Kershaw was dominant for six innings, Bellinger and Betts homered and the Dodgers beat the Rays 8-3 in the first World Series game played at a neutral site. A crowd of just over 11,000 in Arlington, Texas, was limited by the coronavirus and marked the smallest attendance for baseball’s top event in 111 years. Game 2 is Wednesday night.

Jay Johnstone, 2-time WS champ and popular prankster, dies at 74

Johnstone, 2-time WS champ and popular prankster, dies at 74
By BETH HARRIS AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jay Johnstone, who won World Series championships as a versatile outfielder with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers while being baseball’s merry prankster, has died. He was 74. His daughter, Mary Jayne Sarah Johnstone, says her father died last weekend of complications from COVID-19 and he also had suffered from dementia in recent years. In the 1981 World Series, Johnstone had a pinch-hit, two-run homer in Game 4 that rallied the Dodgers to an 8-7 win over the Yankees.

Indians rally for 8-6 win over Pirates, could host playoffs

Indians rally for 8-6 win over Pirates, could host playoffs
By BRIAN DULIK Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians could be staying home for the first round of the postseason. Carlos Santana had four RBIs and delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning as the Indians rallied for an 8-6 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates to put themselves in position to gain home-field advantage for their AL wild-card series. The Indians need the Chicago White Sox to lose to the Cubs to move into second place in the AL Central and fourth in the AL on the final day of the regular season. The Pirates held a 6-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth, when Franmil Reyes belted a three-run homer that chased starter JT Brubaker and began the comeback.

Kuhl goes 7 sharp innings, Pirates beat slumping Cubs 7-0

Kuhl goes 7 sharp innings, Pirates beat slumping Cubs 7-0
JOHN PERROTTO Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chad Kuhl pitched seven sharp innings and Colin Moran and Bryan Reynolds hit home runs in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 7-0 victory over the slumping Chicago Cubs on Thursday. Kuhl finished his comeback season on a strong note, allowing two hits, struck out five hits and three walks. He sat out last season while rehabbing after Tommy John surgery. The Cubs, who clinched a postseason berth Tuesday, are stumbling toward the playoffs with five losses in six games. They have scored two or fewer runs in each of the five defeats.

Lester cruises, Schwarber responds as Cubs top Pirates 5-0

Lester cruises, Schwarber responds as Cubs top Pirates 5-0
By WILL GRAVES AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jon Lester scattered four hits over six innings and the Chicago Cubs inched closer to their first NL Central title since 2017 with a 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lester struck out one and walked one to pick up his first victory since Aug. 11. He retired the first nine batters he faced and kept the lowest-scoring team in the majors in check. Kyle Schwarber responded to being benched in the middle of a loss to Minnesota by doubling twice and driving in a pair of insurance runs in the eighth with a shot to the gap in right-center field.

Steven Brault 2-hits Cardinals, ending Pirates’ 8-game skid

Steven Brault 2-hits Cardinals, ending Pirates’ 8-game skid
By JOHN PERROTTO Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Steven Brault pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game, Gregory Polanco hit a three-run homer and the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped an eight-game skid with a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis dropped to third place in the NL Central, 6 1/2 games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs and one back of the Cincinnati Reds. Brault had never pitched more than seven innings in his previous 43 starts. The Cardinals got their only hits in the third when Kolten Wong and Tommy Edman hit back-to-back singles, with Edman driving in St. Louis’ only run.

Castillo pitches Reds to 1-0 win, four-game sweep of Pirates

Castillo pitches Reds to 1-0 win, four-game sweep of Pirates
CINCINNATI (AP) — Luis Castillo threw seven shutout innings, Shogo Akiyama drove in the Reds only run and Cincinnati completed a four-game sweep of Pittsburgh with a 1-0 win that keeps the Reds in the postseason picture. Pittsburgh rookie J.T. Brubaker allowed a hit and a walk in four innings before the Reds pieced together a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth on consecutive singles by Jose Garcia, Curt Casali and Akiyama, whose liner to left knocked in Garcia. Castillo (3-5), coming off his first career complete game, retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced and gave up only three hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts.

Moustakas homers as Reds sweep Pirates with 9-4 win

Moustakas homers as Reds sweep Pirates with 9-4 win
CINCINNATI (AP) — Mike Moustakas hit a big three-run homer in the fifth inning, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-4 for a doubleheader sweep. Moustakas drove in Shogo Akiyama and Eugenio Suárez with a two-out shot to center off Nik Turley. Pittsburgh had just taken a 4-3 lead on rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes’ two-run shot with two out in the top half of the inning. Brian Goodwin and Joey Votto also connected for Cincinnati, which won a third straight game for the first time since Aug. 28.