Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Pirates have “looked into” first baseman Mike Napoli and outfielder Shane Victorino of the Red Sox.
Napoli, 33, has had a tough year at the plate, entering Sunday’s game batting a meager .205/.301/.372 with 11 home runs and 33 RBI. He is owed the remainder of his $16 million salary and can become a free agent after the season.
Victorino, 34, has also scuffled at the plate when he hasn’t been on the disabled list. He’s hitting .245/.324/.298 with one home run and four RBI in 106 plate appearances. Victorino is owed the remainder of his $13 million salary and can also become a free agent after the season.
The second-place Pirates, at 57-41, have mostly been using Pedro Alvarez at first base. Alvarez, however, has a severe platoon split, so pairing him with Napoli would alleviate that problem. Victorino would function as a fourth outfielder.
Max Scherzer flirted with a perfect game and ultimately settled for a no-hitter the last time he faced the Pirates on June 20. It was a different story for the Nationals ace this time around. The Pirates scored five runs off Scherzer last night as part of a 7-5 victory at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates hit three home runs off Scherzer. The first sailed into the Allegheny River off the bat of Pedro Alvarez. The second was a game-tying blast from Gregory Polanco in the fifth inning which capped an impressive 12-pitch at-bat. The third one was from Neil Walker and gave the Pirates the lead.
That lead was short-lived, as Ian Desmond tied things up in the top of the sixth with a home run of his own. However, the Pirates battled right back with a go-ahead RBI double from Brent Morel and an RBI single from Polanco. Jared Hughes, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon followed with three scoreless innings of relief to finish off the victory.
The Pirates are six games back of the Cardinals in the National League Central, but are still sitting pretty for a Wild Card spot. The Nationals are just 3-5 since the All-Star break, but the Mets are also slumping, so they still have a three-game lead in the NL East.
Your Friday box scores and AP recaps:
Phillies 5, Cubs 3 (10 innings)
Tigers 1, Red Sox 2 (11 innings)
White Sox 6, Indians 0
Nationals 5, Pirates 7
Orioles 1, Rays 3
Dodgers 7, Mets 2
Astros 4, Royals 0
Braves 2, Cardinals 4
Yankees 1, Twins 10
Reds 5, Rockies 6
Rangers 4, Angels 2
Brewers 2, Diamondbacks 1
Blue Jays 2, Mariners 5
Marlins 1, Padres 3
Athletics 3, Giants 9
What a night it was at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.
The host Pirates were down 2-0 to the visiting Cardinals after the top of the third inning and 3-0 after the top of the fifth, but Bucs starter A.J. Burnett hit a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth and then Jung Ho Kang and Pedro Alvarez tied the game with back-to-back RBI singles in the bottom of the eighth.
The score would remain 3-3 until the 10th, when Cardinals first baseman Mark Reynolds slugged a go-ahead solo homer — his second homer of the game. But then Pirates catcher Chris Stewart answered with an RBI single in the bottom half.
Jhonny Peralta put St. Louis back on top once again in the top of the 14th on an RBI single that scored Matt Carpenter, but that just set up Andrew McCutchen to play the hero with this walkoff blast …
Pittsburgh has won two in a row and now stands just 3 1/2 games back of first place.
Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …
Blue Jays 6, Royals 2
Tigers 5, Twins 9
White Sox 5, Cubs 1
Diamondbacks 2, Mets 4
Braves 2, Rockies 3
Reds 3, Marlins 14
Astros 0, Rays 3
Athletics 5, Indians 4
Nationals 7, Orioles 4
Yankees 3, Red Sox 5
Cardinals 5, Pirates 6
Padres 6, Rangers 5
Phillies 5, Giants 8
Angels 0, Mariners 5
Brewers 7, Dodgers 1