Pirates, nearly .500, seeing boost in attendance at PNC Park

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Attendance is down, in general, around most of Major League Baseball. The weather has played a part in that and so has the poor state of the economy. But at least one unexpected team has seen a rise in support, a rise that is only gaining more momentum: the Pittsburgh Pirates.

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, ticket sales this year at the gorgeous PNC Park are already up 2.4 percent and are 14 percent ahead of the sales pace set in 2010.

The Pirates sold out Saturday evening’s 6-2 interleague victory over the Tigers, in part because of a bobblehead promotion featuring popular second baseman and Pittsburgh native Neil Walker. One Pirates executive is predicting that the club will draw at least nine sellouts this season.

“We’re seeing some pretty good growth,” executive vice president Lou DePaoli said last week. “Even some weekday games are moving well. We should have more sellouts this year than we did last year.”

Of course, playing good baseball helps. The Bucs have an improved 22-23 record this season and sit only four games back of the Cardinals in the National League Central standings.

More than 90,000 tickets have been sold for the Pirates’ early-June series against the cross-state Phillies.

Cody Bellinger will lead off for the Dodgers in Game 5

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Cody Bellinger was the last batter of the game last night, getting the walkoff hit for the Dodgers in the bottom of the 13th inning. Tonight he’ll lead off the bottom of the first inning, as Dave Roberts has placed him atop the Dodger lineup.

For Milwaukee, it’s righty-heavy, as they’ll face off against lefty Clayton Kershaw. It certainly worked for them in Game 1 when they scored five runs — four earned — on six hits and two walks while striking out just twice against the Dodgers ace.

Lately, however, everyone’s bats have gone cold. The Brewers went scoreless over the final eight innings last night. The Dodgers have scored only three runs the 22 innings of play at Dodger Stadium thus far. Here are the fellas that will try to change that here in a couple of hours:

Brewers

1. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
2. Christian Yelich (L) RF
3. Ryan Braun (R) LF
4. Jesus Aguilar (R) 1B
5. Hernan Perez (R) 2B
6. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
7. Erik Kratz (R) C
8. Orlando Arcia (R) SS
9. Wade Miley (L) P

Dodgers

1. Cody Bellinger (L) CF
2. Justin Turner (R) 3B
3. David Freese (R) 1B
4. Manny Machado (R) SS
5. Max Muncy (L) 2B
6. Chris Taylor (R) LF
7. Enrique Hernandez (R) RF
8. Austin Barnes (R) C
9. Clayton Kershaw (L) P