Back where we started: The Pirates are, once again, below .500

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The Pirates were below .500 on May 29th. Then they figured out their offense, rode A.J. Burnett and some other unexpectedly good arms for a while and put a run on that had everyone in Pittsburgh thinking not only a winning season, but a playoff season. Indeed, they were 16 games over .500 at one point.

And then they stopped winning.  They lost to the Brewers today 9-7 and now stand at 74-75.

They had a chance in this one. They were up 7-4 heading into the eighth when Rickie Weeks hit a tying two-run triple and scored the go-ahead run on Aramis Ramirez’s single in the eighth inning. Credit Chad Qualls and Chris Resop with the meltdown.

Pittsburgh has lost 11 of 13. They’re staring their 20th straight year of losing records in the face.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.