The Lineup: Starling Marte LF, Alex Presley RF, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Rod Barajas C, Clint Barmes SS, Wandy Rodriguez P.
The Pirates are going with the three CF'er look again tonight, as Casey McGehee sits for a second straight game.
- Kevin Correia is available tonight in his new role as fireman. Joel Hanrahan is down after working three straight outings and firing 49 pitches.
- Friday night was the 19th time in 2012 that Pittsburgh has won a game in which it trailed by two or more runs, the most in the majors. 11 of those 19 comebacks have come on road - one more road comeback win than the Pirates had in previous three seasons combined, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Clint Hurdle has the guys playing ball on the road at least respectably now - they won 36 last year and are 24-26 this season after long stretches of utter futility away from PNC Park.
- The Astros claimed an increasingly well-traveled Steve Pearce today. He should be in town for tomorrow's get-away game.
- Houston has lost eleven straight, tying a club record, and 23-of-25. One writer called it the "Astrospocalypse."
- Three of baseball's hottest teams play in the NL Central, where the Reds (15-of-17) hold a two-game lead over the Pirates (15-of-21) and a 5-1/2 game lead over the Cardinals (7-of-8).
- An odd tidbit with vaguely Pittsburgh overtones: Jayson Stark's ESPN column noted that when Adam Dunn clubbed his 30th HR this week, he had more long balls than singles (30-29). And it's not a first. Mark McGuire did it three times, Carlos Pena once, and the guy with the biggest gap was ex-Bucco Barry Bonds, who in 2001 hammered his 30th with only 12 singles to his credit for SF.
- This day in history: In an otherwise dismal 2001 season, the Pirates scored seven runs with two outs in the ninth to stun the Astros and Billy Wagner 9-8, capped by a Brian Giles grand slam. The last time a comeback that big happened in the NL was June 29th, 1952, when the Cubs rallied for a 9-8 victory against the Reds.
- Jayson Stark of ESPN: "Clubs that have spoken with the Pirates say they seem to be losing their enthusiasm for a run at Chase Headley - at least in July. If they dealt for Headley, they would have to move either him or Pedro Alvarez to first base, in the middle of a race, and force them to play a position at which neither has started a professional game."
- He also added: "One exec who spoke with them told us: "'Watch out for the Pirates and Phillies.' Pittsburgh has had interest in Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence. And the Phillies have scouted the Pirates and their system extensively. But teams in touch with the Phillies are still describing their buy-or-sell stance as a 'holding pattern.'"