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Pirates top Braves again
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Pittsburgh Pirates' Jung Ho Kang (27) and Starling Marte (6) head home to score in the first inning of Saturday's game against the Atlanta Braves in Pittsburgh. - photo by Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Pirates star center fielder Andrew McCutchen was hit in the left elbow by a pitch and exited during a five-run first inning as Pittsburgh sent the Atlanta Braves to their fifth straight loss, 8-4 Saturday.

McCutchen took a fastball from Julio Teheran (5-4). X-rays were negative and the 2013 NL MVP will be re-evaluated on Sunday.

Starling Marte got three hits and scored three times for the Pirates.

Jordy Mercer, Francisco Cervelli and Pedro Alvarez drove in two runs each for Pittsburgh. Charlie Morton (6-1) pitched into the seventh to bounce back from a rough start in Washington last weekend.

Jace Peterson had two hits and drove in three runs for Atlanta. Teheran gave up six runs in six innings, the fifth time this season he's given up at least six runs in a start.

McCutchen has become a popular target for opposing pitchers during his rise to stardom. He was tagged by Williams Perez on Friday night. Less than 24 hours later he was drilled for the eighth time this season when a 92 mph pitch from Teheran smacked into McCutchen's unprotected elbow. He doubled over in pain for several moments before leaving.

It seemed to get Pittsburgh's attention. Marte singled home Neil Walker to give the Pirates the lead and they were just getting started. Alvarez followed with a two-run double, Cervelli followed with an RBI single and Mercer tacked one on with a crisp single up the middle.

In Morton's previous outing, when the Nationals pushed him around for nine runs before he got out of the first inning.

Staked to a sizable lead, he hit Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons in the foot in the second inning. Home plate umpire John Tumpane issued a warning to Morton and both dugouts. Things settled down quickly.

Nick Markakis provided an RBI single in the third but Marte scored on a delayed double steal — helped by a botched throw home from first baseman Joey Terdoslavich — to make it 6-1.

Morton's control abandoned him in the seventh. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs and Peterson doubled to bring Atlanta within 6-4.


Perez expected some discomfort the day after the rookie Atlanta pitcher took a liner off his left foot in the fifth inning on Friday night. The X-Rays revealed no fractures, only a bone contusion and Perez put on a walking boot as a precaution. The boot helped. It just didn't prepare Perez for what awaited when he opened his eyes on Saturday.

"It was worse than I thought it was going to be," Perez said.

While Perez felt he "dodged a bullet" he couldn't avoid some unwanted time off. The Bravesplaced him on the 15-day DL and called up 27-year-old rookie reliever Jake Brigham from Triple-A Gwinnett. Manager Fredi Gonzalez isn't sure Perez needs the entire 15 days to heal but didn't want the Braves to be short a man for an extended period. Gonzalez isn't sure who will take Perez's spot in the rotation when it comes up again Thursday against Washington.


The series wraps up on Sunday when Atlanta's Alex Wood (4-5, 3.44 ERA) faces Jeff Locke (4-3, 4.73). Wood has lost three straight decisions, including a 3-0 defeat against the Pirates on June 7. The Braves have knocked around Locke at times. The left-hander is 1-1 with a 6.08 ERA in five starts against Atlanta. The lone victory was a 2-1 triumph on Oct. 1, 2012, that was Locke's first major league victory.