Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

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Are we in for another second-half Pirates collapse?

A.J. Burnett allowed five runs — two earned — on 10 hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings Saturday as the Bucs fell 5-4 to the Reds, dropping a second straight game at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. Pittsburgh is now 0-2 since the All-Star break and 5-9 since the 81-game mark. It’ll be Jeff Locke vs. Homer Bailey in the series finale on Sunday.

The Pirates were in first place in the National League Central on July 25, 2011 before finishing 72-90. They were in first place on July 18, 2012 and then wound up 79-83. Right now they trail the Cardinals by two games and counting.

Your Saturday box scores and recaps:

Rays 4, Blue Jays 3

Phillies 4, Mets 5

Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

Braves 6, White Sox 10

Pirates 4, Reds 5

Tigers 5, Royals 6

Marlins 0, Brewers 6

Indians 2, Twins 3

Mariners 4, Astros 2

Padres 5, Cardinals 3

Dodgers 3, Nationals 1

Cubs 3, Rockies 9

Orioles 7, Rangers 4

Athletics 0, Angels 2

Diamondbacks 3, Giants 4

White Sox sign Ervin Santana to minors deal

Ervin Santana
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Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana picked up a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to various reports Friday. Per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, Santana will make $4.33 million if he manages to crack the major-league roster this spring. Any official confirmation from the team is still dependent on the results of a physical.

The veteran righty hasn’t seen any action in MLB for some time. He was laid low by prolonged discomfort in his right middle finger last spring, and underwent a capsular release/debridement procedure that kept him off the mound for all but 24 2/3 innings of his 2018 campaign with the Twins. When healthy, however, he’s been as durable and productive as they come. Santana earned his second career All-Star distinction in 2017 and pitched to a 16-8 record in 33 starts with three shutouts, a 3.28 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 2.9 fWAR through 211 1/3 innings.

Barring further complications with his pitching hand, the 36-year-old should be a stabilizing force for the White Sox’ rotation in 2019 — assuming he can beat out southpaw Manny Bañuelos and right-handers Jordan Stephens and Dylan Covey for a back-end role, that is. According to FanGraphs, the club’s starters ranked worst in the league in 2018 with a collective 5.07 ERA, 5.18 FIP, and 3.1 fWAR.