Pirates notebook: Cumpton to start season finale

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CINCINNATI -- Right-hander Brandon Cumpton will replace Gerrit Cole today as the starting pitcher after a Pirates win Saturday rendered the outcome of the game meaningless.

The Cincinnati Reds also swapped pitchers, substituting right-hander Greg Reynolds for Johnny Cueto. Cueto will start Tuesday night against Francisco Liriano in the National League wild-card game at PNC Park.

The Pirates plan to use Cole in relief of Liriano in case Liriano runs into trouble. The winner-take-all nature of a wild-card game means the teams have no margin for error and must plan for a poor start or injury.

"He'd be in line in case something out of the ordinary happened with Liriano and he pitched an inning or two innings," Hurdle said.

In five games, four of them starts, for the Pirates this season, Cumpton has a 2.45 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 252/3 innings. Cumpton, 24, a rookie, has not pitched since Sept. 22, when he pitched three scoreless innings of relief in an 11-3 loss to the Reds.

Reynolds, a right-hander, has a 5.55 ERA in five games, four starts, this season.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he will rest some of his regular position players today as well.

Lambo gets HR ball

Andrew Lambo said Great American Ball Park security found the ball he hit for his first career home run and gave it to him. He plans to keep it locked up at his house.

"Just coming into the ballgame and keeping momentum going was good," Lambo said. "Just got a good pitch to hit. Just put a good swing on it."

Lambo made his major league debut earlier this season after hitting 32 home runs in the minors this season. The homer was his first hit since Sept. 6.

Four-man rotation

The Pirates likely will use a four-man rotation if they advance to the National League Division Series, Hurdle said Saturday.

"We got four guys who are pitching really well and we'd like to stick with it," Hurdle said.

A.J. Burnett would start the first game of the potential NLDS Thursday after five days of rest between starts. Burnett has a career 4.09 ERA on five days of rest, compared to a 3.88 ERA on his usual four. In seven postseason starts, all with the New York Yankees, Burnett is 2-2 with a 5.08 ERA.

The Pirates could then choose between Charlie Morton and Cole, if Cole doesn't pitch Tuesday, for Game 2 Friday. Liriano could go on regular rest Sunday in Game 3. If the series goes to Game 4, whoever doesn't start Friday could take the mound, and Burnett would be available Oct. 9 for a potential Game 5.

Phillips appears OK

Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips fouled a ball off his left shin in the fifth inning. He singled in that at-bat, but left the game as a welt big enough to make out on television monitors swelled on his leg. The Reds announced that X-rays showed no fractures.

Powerful mark

The Pirates' six home runs Saturday marked the seventh time they had done that in a nine-inning game since at least 1916. They previously hit six in a game in 2007, including two from Nate McLouth. The record for home runs in one game is seven. They did that twice, in 1947 and 2003, both coming against the St. Louis Cardinals.


Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG.


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