Correia's work vs. Cubs earns top marks

Pirates Notebook

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When the Pirates needed a starter to be a stopper Monday night, they turned to a pitcher many believed wouldn't be on the team past the trade deadline.

Kevin Correia came up big for the Pirates Monday in a game delayed 3 1/2 hours by rain. He gave up two hits over seven scoreless innings as the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-0.

It was less than two months ago that Correia voiced his displeasure with a demotion to the bullpen. Now, he figures to be a key player in the push for a winning season and potential playoff berth.

"I haven't sat back and given up on anything," Correia said. "I've got a lot to earn still in my career. When I go out there, I want to win a game, no matter what the situation."

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Correia will remain in the rotation, and his performance made that a relatively easy decision. In nine starts since the All Star break, Correia has a 3.61 ERA.

His outing Monday did not begin until 11:40 p.m. EDT because postponing the game would have been difficult this late in the season. But Correia took advantage of the situation.

"He made the comment that anybody who's been sitting around that long is going to want to take some whacks at it," Hurdle said.

So Correia made the Cubs chase -- and was able to do that with effective command.

"The curveball was the best curveball I've seen from him in arguably his best outing of the season," Hurdle said.

Talk about sleep ...

After the late game, the Pirates' charter flight left Chicago's O'Hare Airport at 4:45 a.m. Tuesday and arrived at 5:42 a.m.

That didn't leave much time for the team to get some sleep and get ready for the game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The players did not have to report to PNC Park until about an hour and a half after the usual time, allowing most to catch up on sleep.

When Hurdle arrived home at about 7 a.m., his kids were awake and getting ready for school.

Rookie Brock Holt said he arrived at his hotel, where he has lived since being called up earlier this month, at about 6:40 and was asleep by 7.

He said he might have an advantage over some of his veteran teammates, having played in the minor leagues as recently as less than a month ago.

There, long bus rides and early morning arrivals were common.

"You get kind of used to it in the minor leagues because you do it all the time," he said. "The travel isn't as nice, either."

McPherson faces test tonight

Rookie Kyle McPherson will get his first major league start tonight against the Brewers, and Hurdle said the club is looking forward to seeing the power pitcher in a big game.

McPherson has appeared in seven games, allowing two earned runs over 112/3 innings.

As a starter, he said he will use his changeup more often as his approach against hitters will change.

"This is a young man we think very highly of," Hurdle said. "It's a pretty good opportunity in a very meaningful game."

Clemente Day festivities

The Pirates commemorated Roberto Clemente Day on Tuesday, wearing 1971 throwback hats and honoring reliever Chris Resop and a handful of minor league players for their work in the community. Resop is the Pirates' nominee for the Clemente award, given annually to one major league player who excels in community involvement.

Resop and his wife, Kara, raised more than $10,000 that benefited the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and the All Children's Hospital of St. Petersburg, Fla., his home state. He also raised nearly $12,000 for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's "Cut-For-A-Cure" fundraiser -- which is why his head has been shaved this season.

Hurdle, team president Frank Coonelly and some players will visit Dilworth Elementary School this morning to deliver school supplies and meet students. The elementary school visit is an annual event on Clemente Day.



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