Bob Smizik: Pirates acquire reliever Axford

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According to multiple published reports, the Pirates have acquired right-handed relief pitcher John Axford, 31, from the Cleveland Indians. The move was announced after the Pirates 5-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers today. wrote, ''It remains to be seen whether Pittsburgh initially claimed Axford off revocable waivers or instead completed the deal after Axford had cleared. Given his salary, it would not be surprising to learn that he had already passed unclaimed.”

Axford is making $4.5 million this year and is under control through 2016.

Axford was a one-time top closer with the Milwaukee Brewers. From 2010-12 he had 24, 46 and 35 saves. This is his career information.

In his last appearance with Cleveland, Axford gave up four earned runs in 2/3 of an inning, but otherwise has pitched decently for the Indians.

In 49 games he had a 3.92 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. His K/9 was an impressive 10.5, but his W/9 was an unimpressive 6.2.

The move comes after two consecutive games in which the Pirates bullpen allowed a small deficit to become a large one in losses to the Tigers.

Pirates hitters were rendered helpless by the pitching of Detroit ace Max Scherzer, who struck out eight in the first three innings and ended up with 14 in eight innings.

The Pirates did not score until the ninth when Gaby Sanchez hit a pinch-hit two-run homer.

Pirates starter Francisco Liriano pitched six innings and allowed two runs on three hits and four walks. He struck out nine. He gave up a home run to J.D. Martinez in the fifth and walked in a run in the sixth.

Brandon Cumpton pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning but allowed two runs in the ninth. The runs were earned but a better throw by second baseman Michael Martinez would have secured the third out. Martinez went far to his left to field a grounder by (J.D.) Martinez. An accurate throw would have nailed Martinez for the third out. Martinez was given a single on the play.

One run scored on the throwing error and another on a single by Nick Castellanos.

Martinez got the start at second after Jayson Nix made a crucial error last night. In their time with the Pirates this season, Martinez and Nix are a combined 9-for-66 (.152) with no homers and three RBIs.

Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer left the game after six innings with a strained right forearm. Mercer had played every inning at shortstop since June 19.

First Published August 14, 2014 12:00 AM

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