The Royals are interested in Johnny Cueto

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Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals are “pushing hard” for Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto. He adds, however, that their needs for an outfielder — particularly following the unfortunate injury to Alex Gordon — may trump their need for a starter.

Cueto, 29, has put together another terrific season, owning a 2.73 ERA with a 113/22 K/BB ratio over 118 2/3 innings. The 40-47, fourth-place Reds are shopping Cueto as he is eligible for free agency after the season.

Meanwhile, the 53-35, first-place Royals are looking to bolster a rotation currently led by Edinson Volquez and is otherwise not reliable for late season drama or in a short post-season series. Jeremy Guthrie, Yordano Ventura, and Danny Duffy have ERA’s of 4.65 or worse.

Video: Cubs score run on Pirates’ appeal throw

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2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.

One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.

The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.