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Battered Blue Jays, Pirates vie for series victory
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Latest Line: Pittsburgh -105 O/U: 9
 
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TORONTO -- The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Toronto Blue Jays likely will be glad that their interleague series of attrition is ending Sunday.

Both teams have been hit with injuries during the first two games, which the teams split.

Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin went on the 10-day disabled list Saturday with a strained left oblique that forced him from Friday's 4-2 setback after the first inning.

The Pirates also lost Andrew McCutchen during the third inning Friday when the center fielder hurt a knee while taking a lead from second base. He is listed as day to day.

In the Blue Jays' 7-2 win on Saturday afternoon, Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco felt discomfort in his left hamstring after pursuing a single in the fifth inning. His status for Sunday is uncertain.

"Something grabbed him and that was it," Pirates bench coach Tom Prince said. "That's why we took him out of the game."

The Pirates will start right-hander Chad Kuhl (5-7, 4.53 ERA) against Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ (5-8. 3.77) on Sunday. Each has won two starts in a row.

The Blue Jays promoted Mike Ohlman from Triple-A Buffalo to work with Raffy Lopez as the catchers in Martin's absence.

"Who knows how long those take," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's a little different. He'll push himself to get back as quick as possible. But if he's hurt, you know he's hurt."

It sounded as though McCutchen could play Sunday. He could run and hit before the game Saturday.

"I went through everything and felt fine," McCutchen said. "They wanted to give me a day just to be sure. I was ready to go the whole game. If they needed me, I was ready. At the same time, I don't need to be doing something and making it worse. You've got to be safe."

McCutchen is batting .440 (11-for-25) with four home runs, six RBIs and two walks in his career against Happ.

The Pirates are familiar with Happ. He joined them in a trade with the Seattle Mariners during the 2015 season and went 7-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 11 starts. He signed with the Blue Jays as a free agent after that season.

Happ is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his past two starts covering 12 2/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. He picked up his 500th strikeout as a Blue Jay in his start against the Yankees.

Happ has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 10 of his past 11 starts. He is 3-3 with a 3.11 ERA in nine career starts against the Pirates.

Kuhl is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in his past eight starts.

The 24-year-old will be facing the Blue Jays for the first time in his career. He is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four career interleague starts.

He won a 6-3 decision against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, allowing three runs in six innings, for his second straight victory.

Prince has been filling in for manager Clint Hurdle the past two games. Hurdle, who was attending the funeral of former major league start Don Baylor, is expected to be back at the helm Sunday.

Likely, more will be known about the status of Polanco.

"It (stinks)," McCutchen said. "We don't need him to be 80-85 percent right now. A hamstring's a difficult thing. You don't want that happening to a 25-year-old. He needs to be healthy.

"I don't know everything that's going on there. We just need him healthy. We don't need him 80 percent."

 


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