Bauer rocked as Pirates beat Reds 9-8 for three-game sweep
By JOHN PERROTTO Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Trevor Bauer had another rocky outing for Cincinnati, allowing eight runs in three innings as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Reds 9-8 Sunday to sweep a three-game series.
Since being acquired from the Cleveland Indians prior to the July 31 trade deadline, Bauer (10-11) is 1-3 with a 7.62 ERA in five starts. Seven of the runs charged to him Sunday were earned, and he had two walks and two strikeouts.
Bryan Reynolds hit a bases-loaded triple high off the right field wall to cap a three-run second inning that put the Pirates ahead for good at 5-3. The sweep was Pittsburgh’s first since taking three from San Diego on June 21-23.
Eugenio Suarez’s leadoff home run in the ninth inning drew the Reds within a run, but Felipe Vazquez retired the last three hitters for his 23rd save in 25 opportunities.
Pirates leadoff hitter Kevin Newman went 4 for 4, was hit by a pitch and stole two bases in helping send Cincinnati to its sixth straight road loss. Pittsburgh has won 10 consecutive games at home against the Reds, dating to last season.
Dario Agrazal (3-3) allowed four runs in five innings to end his three-game losing streak. The rookie struck out five and walked two.
Starling Marte’s run-scoring double with two outs in the eighth proved critical as it gave Pittsburgh a two-run lead at 9-7. Cincinnati rookie Josh VanMeter hit a two-run home run in the top of the inning that cleared the right field stands and bounced into the Allegheny River to make it a one-run game.
Kyle Farmer also homered for the Reds and Jose Iglesias had three hits.
The Pirates led 8-3 by the end of the third inning.
Newman led off the first with a double and scored on a single by Reynolds before Josh Bell hit a sacrifice fly drew Pittsburgh 3-2. After Reynolds put the Pirates ahead an inning later, Jose Osuna hit an RBI double, and Agrazal and Newman also drove in runs in a three-run third.
The Reds jumped on Agrazal for three runs in the first on consecutive RBI singles by Aristides Aquino and Iglesias and a sacrifice fly by Curt Casali.
Farmer hit a solo shot in the sixth off Michael Feliz to get Cincinnati within 8-5.
Reds: CF Nick Senzel (sore right thumb) did not start for a second straight game but pinch-hit in the sixth inning and struck out. … 1B Joey Votto (lower back strain) fielded ground balls but isn’t expected to be activated from the injured list for at least a few more days.
Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl and RHP Edgar Santana, both rehabbing from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, are throwing bullpens and expected to be at full strength when spring training begins in February.
Reds: Begin a four-game series Monday night as RHP Sonny Gray (9-6, 2.92) is scheduled to start against LHP Caleb Smith (8-7, 3.82). Gray is 7-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his last 12 starts.
Pirates: Open a three-game series at Philadelphia on Monday night with RHP Joe Musgrove (8-12, 4.74) pitching against LHP Jason Vargas (6-6, 3.99). In four August starters, Musgrove is 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA.
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Louisiana wins 1st Little League title, beating Curacao 8-0
By TYLER KING Asoociated Press
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — Louisiana claimed its first Little League World Series title as Marshall Louque hit a pair of doubles and drove in three runs, while pitcher Egan Prather threw a two-hit shutout Sunday to lead a team from River Ridge past Curacao 8-0.
Egan shut down a powerful Curacao lineup, throwing 88 pitches over six innings. His performance in the championship caps off a solid tournament on the mound in which he picked up two victories and struck out 19 batters in 14 1/3 innings.
The offensive breakthrough came in the fifth inning for Louisiana as the club representing the Southwest region scored four runs on four hits to seize control. Reece Roussel smacked an RBI double that was followed by Marshall’s RBI single, his third hit of the day.
Curacao threatened in the top of the third, loading the bases with one out. But a sharp ground ball to Marshall at third base resulted in a force-out at the plate and a few pitches later, Jurdrick Profar, the youngest brother of Oakland A’s infielder Jurickson Profar, was thrown out trying to score on a wild pitch.
With Louisiana’s victory, U.S. teams have won back-to-back Little League crowns for the first time since 2009, when a team from Chula Vista, California, capped off a streak of five straight championships for the United States.
This year, the team from suburban New Orleans fought its way back through the loser’s bracket after dropping its first game to Hawaii. Louisiana won six games in eight days, becoming the first team to win the LLWS after losing its first game since the tournament expanded in 2001.
Tyler King is a journalism student at Penn State University.
Atlanta Braves sign veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli
By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Francisco Cervelli caught on with a playoff contender, just as he hoped.
The first-place Atlanta Braves signed Cervelli to a one-year contract Saturday and immediately plugged the veteran catcher into the starting lineup against the New York Mets. After recovering from his latest concussion, it was his first game in the majors since May 25.
“The only way he’s going to get to know these guys is to catch ’em,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
About two hours before the game, Cervelli said he was still waiting for his catching equipment to arrive at Citi Field. But on the second pitch he saw in his first at-bat, he laced a two-run double into the left field corner for a 2-0 lead. He added a sharp single his next time up.
Cervelli, who has a long history of concussions, was granted his release Thursday by the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates after telling them he wanted to hook on with a big league team that had playing time to offer and a chance to reach the postseason. He gives the NL East leaders a proven replacement for injured catcher Brian McCann, sidelined earlier in the week by a sprained left knee.
“It’s amazing,” Cervelli said. “My only mission here is win. I’m wired that way.”
Atlanta will pay Cervelli $110,403, a prorated portion of the $555,000 major league minimum. That is offset against his $11.5 million salary in the final season of the $31 million, three-year contract with Pittsburgh that he was released from.
The 33-year-old Cervelli joined the Braves at Citi Field and batted seventh against Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler. Snitker said Cervelli will split playing time with Tyler Flowers behind the plate and likely remain with the club when McCann returns because by then rosters will have expanded in September.
“He’s got skills. He’s a good little catcher,” Snitker said. “While Mac’s out, he’s going to be nice little pairing with Tyler.”
Cervelli dealt with multiple concussions this season and batted .193 with one home run and five RBIs in 34 games for the Pirates. He recently completed a minor league rehab assignment that began Aug. 11 at Double-A Altoona in the Pittsburgh organization. He played one game there and then caught six games at Triple-A Indianapolis.
“I’m not a little kid anymore, so I kind of know exactly what I need and how many games,” Cervelli said. “I’ve been working so hard besides the game for a long time to get back at my best.”
Cervelli acknowledged that two months ago, he was a little jittery about catching again after his most recent concussion in May. A report suggested he didn’t plan to go back behind the plate, but Cervelli insisted he didn’t say that — someone else did.
After working out in the infield, he moved back to catcher in the minors. He said he was bored at other positions and threw away his infield glove.
“I’m not a baseball player. I’m a catcher,” he said. “I’ve been doing it for 17 years and that’s all I’m going to do. And, I like to be behind the plate. It sounds crazy, but I like to get hit and do my thing. So, I’m here now.”
He said he quietly underwent a new therapy with a new doctor and is feeling good.
“I put everything I had,” said Cervelli, the Pirates’ opening day catcher each of the past five years.
Cervelli began the night a .269 career hitter with 36 home runs and 261 RBIs in 700 major league games. His .362 on-base percentage in 450 games with Pittsburgh was second among big league catchers during that span to San Francisco’s Buster Posey (.368).
To make roster room for Cervelli, the Braves optioned catcher Alex Jackson to Triple-A Gwinnett and transferred left-hander Grant Dayton to the 60-day injured list.
Cervelli, from Venezuela, spent the first seven years of his career with the New York Yankees and played in 42 games for the 2009 World Series champions.
“I feel like a lucky man,” he said. “Just the fact that I went to Triple-A and played baseball. It doesn’t matter what it is. I played there like a kid again, and now I feel more grateful just to get picked up by a team who is in first place and they like to win. That’s the whole idea.”
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Bell tops 100 RBIs, Pirates cruise past Reds 14-0
By WES CROSBY Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Josh Bell isn’t done.
That was the defining message from the All-Star first baseman after he topped 100 RBIs for the first time in the majors, hitting a three-run homer as the Pittsburgh Pirates routed the Cincinnati Reds 14-0 on Saturday night.
“There’s a lot of weight on that number, so it’s cool to get that out of the way,” Bell said. “I’ll strive for more. So it’s cool to kind of have that check go off on that box.”
After Colin Moran gave Pittsburgh a 7-0 lead with a pinch-hit grand slam in the sixth inning, Bell lined a fastball from Kevin Gausman into the left-field bleachers in the seventh to reach 102 RBIs.
That’s the highest total from a Pirates player during manager Clint Hurdle’s nine seasons in Pittsburgh, passing Pedro Alvarez’ 100 RBIs from 2013.
“He still has a month-plus to play,” Hurdle said. “There’s absolutely value in (topping 100 RBIs). Back in the day, you hit 20 (home runs) and 100, you were a bad dude. You were one of the baddest dudes in the league. … One hundred is still a yard marker.”
Bell’s career-high 32 home runs matched Bobby Bonilla’s mark from 1990 for the most by a Pirates switch-hitter.
The Pirates have won the first two games against Cincinnati after entering the three-game series 8-30 since the All-Star break. The Reds lost their ninth straight game at PNC Park dating to an 8-6 win on June 17, 2018.
Moran’s grand slam was his fourth in the majors. He sent a curveball from Lucas Sims 396 feet to right field for his major league career-high 12th homer.
Trevor Williams (6-6) allowed three hits with three strikeouts in six innings, recovering from giving up six earned runs in two innings against Washington in his last start.
“I know I’m a good pitcher,” Williams said. “I know my coaches trust me and my teammates trust me. The beautiful thing about baseball, and also the really crummy thing about baseball, is bad games are going to happen and bad stretches are going to happen. It’s just a matter of what you’re going to do to pull yourself out.”
Two of the three hits off Williams were the first two of the season for Reds starter Alex Wood (1-3). Wood allowed four earned runs on two hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.
“Overall I thought it was good,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to tip your cap. I felt good. Hopefully, I’ll build on tonight and go from there.”
Wood was pulled after hitting Bell to load the bases with one out in the sixth. A single off Sims from José Osuna produced Pittsburgh’s third run before Moran entered for his grand slam.
“I thought that was his best start since he’s been with us,” Reds manager David Bell said. “I don’t know what happened there his last inning. He just lost his feel for the strikes a little bit, walked a couple and hit a batter.”
“You know, at that point, given how Williams was pitching and since we had to try to keep it right there, we had a groundball and then the Moran pinch-hit grand slam was the big play of the game,” he said.
Reds: 1B Joey Votto will not return from his low back strain when eligible to be activated from the 10-day injured list Sunday, but is progressing well, Bell said. He was placed on the IL on Aug. 18 (retroactive to Aug. 15). … C Curt Casali returned from a rehabilitation assignment with a sprained right knee and was reinstated from the 10-day IL. … INF/OF Brian O’Grady was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.
Reds: RHP Trevor Bauer (10-10, 4.06) will try to avoid a third straight loss when he takes the mound against Pittsburgh on Sunday. He is 2-4 in eight starts since going 4-0 in five starts from June 16-July 7.
Pirates: RHP Dario Agrazal (2-3, 4.09) is looking for his first win since July 6 entering Sunday. He is 0-3 in six appearances (five starts) since.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLB and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports
For three decades plus, the colorful commentary of Bruce Frey has been a staple of high school sports on Beaver County Radio, stretching into the confines of Coaches Corner, the Friday night Wrap-Up Show, as well as expanding into FM territory with the new 99.3 presented by St. Barnabas.
After night one of Week Zero action in the WPIAL, Bruce was as colorful as ever, talking to Matt Drzik and Greg Benedetti about the Freedom/Hopewell game he covered with Tom Hays, the initial reaction to the first games of the season, and his predictions on whether the Beaver County Radio crew will make their way back to Heinz Field in November.
In a game heard on 99.3 FM and 1230 AM, Bob Barrickman and Jason Colangelo had the call from Oak Hill Field, New Brighton. A game where New Brighton got the week 0 win 21-0 over New Brighton. Early in the 1st quarter, New Brighton Struck first on a rushing touch down by Jake Francona, which gave The Lions an early 7-0 lead. Then the defense took over by forcing a Rochester fumble inside the red zone. The game went back and forth, making it 7-0 at halftime. Part way into the 3rd quarter, Francona rushed for a 10 yard touch down. The New Brighton defense never budged, making it 14-0 after 3. Into the 4th, New Brighton added one more touch down making it 21-0, which was the final. New Brighton sits at 1-0 and plays at Mohawk next week, and Rochester drops to 0-1 and plays Laurel at home.
1230 AM WBVP and 99.3 FM’s Bob Barrickman and Jason Colangelo have the call from Oak Hill field in New Brighton of this WPIAL week zero Non-Conference high school football game as the Rams battle the Lions. The Lions will be looking for revenge after losing the opener to the Rams last season. Zach Ulrich will be providing sideline reports throughout the game. Air-time is 6:30 p.m. and kick-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm. If you can’t listen on the air click the Trib-Live Logo below at the time of broadcast to listen to the game on line…….
1460 WMBA’s Tom Hays and Bruce Frey have the call from the home of the Hopewell Vikings Tony Dorsett Stadium. This will be an exciting week zero WPIAL non-conference high school football game as the Vikings battle the Bulldogs. Air-time is 6:30 p.m. and kick-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm. If you can’t listen on the air click the Trib-Live Logo below at the time of broadcast to listen to the game on line…….
Scherzer goes 4 innings in return, Nationals top Pirates 7-1
By WES CROSBY Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — To Max Scherzer, a short outing was totally OK.
“I can’t get hurt again,” the Washington Nationals ace said. “That’s just the reality of this.”
Scherzer pitched four innings in his return from the injured list Thursday night and the Nationals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-1.
Scherzer allowed one run and four hits, struck out three and walked one. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was put on the IL on July 26 with a strain in his upper back — a day earlier, he made his first start since being on the injured list with a back issue.
“I just wanted to come out here, not really empty the tank tonight, and just try to pitch,” Scherzer said. “Got out here and was able to go four innings, and got to get a good feel for this, of getting back in there.”
“I feel pretty good post-start. With this whole process of trying to learn what’s going on here, it’s a recovery,” he said.
The Nationals hadn’t set a pitch count for Scherzer in this game, but said they would closely monitor him. He threw 71 pitches, 48 for strikes.
“He threw 70-plus pitches, and he felt good,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He was a little gassed, which we figured he would be. His intensity was like always and he got through it.”
Anthony Rendon and Howie Kendrick homered for Washington, which leads the NL wild-card race and won for the ninth time in 11 games.
The Pirates fell to 8-30 since the All-Star break. Steven Brault (3-3) allowed two runs, each scored in the first, in six innings. Five of Washington’s seven hits off Brault came in the first two innings.
“It was just the ebb and flow of the game, and that’s why I love starting so much,” Brault said. “That’s why I’ve always loved starting. You have to be able to make adjustments throughout the game.”
Scherzer is 7-0 in his past 11 starts. He said the next step would be to build toward throwing 100 pitches in a game.
“Hopefully I wake up tomorrow and I feel good,” Scherzer said. “If I do, it’s time to strengthen up. That will be a good sign, if I feel good tomorrow. … This is a good start, but I’m not out of the woods.”
Hunter Strickland (2-1) allowed one hit in two innings for the win.
Scherzer struggled in the third, using 25 pitches and allowing Adam Frazier’s seventh home run of the season on a fastball with one out. He stranded runners on first and second by striking out Colin Moran.
“We had one missed opportunity early,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “A couple innings where one more hit could’ve put some more pressure on (Scherzer). We’re not getting the big hit when we need it.”
Kendrick singled, doubled and hit his 14th homer, a two-run drive in the eighth that made it 4-1. Rendon hit his 28th home run in the ninth.
“Everybody’s contributing,” Nationals shortstop Trea Turner said. “It’s a hard lineup to get through and it’s been fun playing with those guys, and watching those guys.”
Nationals: 2B Brian Dozier was reinstated from the paternity list. … RHP Kyle McGowin and INF Adrián Sanchez were optioned to Double-A Harrisburg.
Pirates: GM Neal Huntington announced Pittsburgh requested unconditional release waivers for C Francisco Cervelli, who has played 34 games while dealing with multiple concussions this season.
Nationals: RHP Aníbal Sánchez (7-6, 3.99) is looking to avoid his first loss in more than more than three months when he takes the mound against the Cubs on Friday. He is 7-0 in 15 starts since allowing three runs in 4 1/3 innings of a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers on May 10.
Pirates: RHP Mitch Keller (1-2, 8.86) will try to get past the fifth inning for the first time against Cincinnati on Friday. The 23-year-old rookie has lasted five innings or fewer in each of his first five major league starts, including when he gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Cubs on Sunday.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLB and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports