Pirates notebook: Weather forces Morton to watch

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Starter Charlie Morton pitched two innings Sunday before a long rain delay cut his outing short.

Morton -- in his fourth start since returning from Tommy John surgery -- allowed two hits and one unearned run in the second inning, then never saw the mound again when the skies opened up shortly after 2 p.m.

He threw 22 pitches, 17 of them strikes, before his bullpen came in to pitch 12 innings of scoreless relief.

"It's unbelievable, that's how good they are," Morton said. "We know that, we've known that. It's just unbelievable. It's awesome to watch. You don't like to see that workload, but they basically pitched a ballgame and some, by themselves."

The stoppage lasted 2 hours, 20 minutes, and Vin Mazzaro took the mound after the delay for five innings of scoreless relief followed by one inning apiece from Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon, and the final three by Tony Watson.

Morton said he felt good before the delay.

"I felt fine," Morton said. "We had that delay and you never want that to happen."

He said he's not sure what the abbreviated start does to his turn in the rotation, but he knew fairly early in the delay that he would be done for the day.

"Normally around 45 minutes, you start to wonder," Morton said. "If they're pulling the tarp at 45 minutes or getting the field ready. It's all speculative when you're around 30 minutes, 45."

"You've got to recognize how our guys are pitching. Tough break with Morton having to leave early with the rain delay. Would've been fun to watch him go a little further, but our bullpen picked up the rest of the way and gave us a chance to win," said catcher Russell Martin, who drove in the winning run in the 14th.

Barmes gets a start

Clint Barmes joined the lineup at shortstop, giving Jordy Mercer a day off. Barmes went 1 for 3 with a double.

Manager Clint Hurdle said before the game he doesn't believe in "freezing" any player on the bench in order to keep everyone game-ready should they be needed.

"I thought it'd be a good time to, number one, get Mercer down for a day," Hurdle said. "[Barmes] has put a lot of work in on the swing and I think it's been good for him to just back away and get away from that grind we can get caught up into.

"Jordy has earned the bulk of the playing time, and he understands that. ... But also, as we all know in this game and in sport, you can lose people in the blink of an eye. You've got to be ready. ... You've got to keep everybody game-speed active."

Injury update

Injured starter Wandy Rodriguez did not receive an injection for tightness in his elbow, despite conflicting information given to reporters before the game. His rehabilitation is, according to Hurdle, "on pause."

First to 50

The Pirates reached 50 wins, on Saturday, before July 1 for the first time in franchise history. They also were the first major league team to reach 50 wins this season. The previous time the Pirates were the first MLB team to reach 50 wins was 1960, then 1921 before that.

A sweet moment for Reid

Reliever Ryan Reid said his save Friday was "icing on the cake" for him after entering the game in the seventh.

He gave up two hits, a walk, and struck out four to earn the first save of his career.

"When you get your opportunities to eat up some innings, in this case I did my job and walked away with a save," Reid said. "There are a lot of great things going on in this bullpen and to say I'm a part of it and hanging with the guys, it's great."

Reid has a 1.00 ERA in nine innings scattered over six games since making his major league debut June 3.

"The crowd stayed with us the whole way and the offense battled back. It's awesome, awesome to be a part of this," Reid said.

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Ray Fittipaldo contributed to this report. Jenn Menendez: jmenendez@post-gazette.com, and Twitter @JennMenendez. First Published July 1, 2013 4:00 AM


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