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Andrew McCutchen homers three times against the Padres on Sunday

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Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen hit a trio of solo homers, leading his team to a 7-1 victory over the Padres on Sunday afternoon at Petco Park. His first dinger came in the first inning off of Clayton Richard, putting the Pirates up 1-0. He went yard again in the eighth, boosting the Pirates’ lead to 5-1. His third homer caromed off of the right field foul pole, making it a 7-1 game.

McCutchen is the eighth player to hit three home runs in a game this season, joining Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Kemp, Anthony Rendon, Scooter Gennett (four), Eddie Rosario, Corey Seager, and Nolan Arenado. Despite the home run surge that we’ve seen this season, we’re still a ways off from matching last year’s three-homer game count of 19. The record was set in 2001 with 22 three-homer games.

Last year, McCutchen put up the worst numbers of his career and he lost his long time position in center field entering this season until Starling Marte was suspended. McCutchen has turned things around this year. After Sunday’s action, he’s batting .292/.385/.535 with 22 home runs, 66 RBI, and 68 runs scored in 431 plate appearances.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.