PITTSBURGH -- The National League MVP doesnt play favourites when it comes to hot streaks. Hyun-jin Ryu Jersey . Neither do the Pittsburgh Pirates, who rode Andrew McCutchen to another win Wednesday. McCutchen homered and reached base four times and the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2 at rainy PNC Park on Wednesday night. McCutchen is batting .462 during a seven-game hitting streak and has 12 extra-base hits during 10 June games. "I dont compare (career-best stretches)," McCutchen said. "Im not big on that. Im just seeing the ball hitting the ball. Im in a spurt where Im feeling really good right now." So are the Pirates, who have taken two of the first three games of the series with their NL Central rivals. Pittsburghs Brandon Cumpton (2-2) pitched five effective innings, and the offence pounded Cubs starter Jason Hammel (6-4) for 11 hits in five innings, snapping his streaks of 14 1-3 innings without allowing a run and 52 innings without allowing a homer when McCutchen hit his 10th in the first. McCutchen also had a single and walked twice. "Hes hot," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "When he gets his pitch, hes not missing." Luis Valbuena likewise continued his recent strong hitting with three hits for last-place Chicago, which has lost three of four after a season-best five-game winning streak. The games first pitch was delayed 1 hour, 38 minutes because of a severe thunderstorm that began sweeping through downtown Pittsburgh about an hour before the scheduled start time. Rain fell again during the sixth inning. McCutchens fly ball landed more than a row into the left-field seats -- but it almost became an extra-long out when leftfielder Chris Coghlan leaped into the stands. He landed in the seats and said he had a read on the ball but that a fan outmanoeuvred him for it. "Best non-catch effort Ive ever seen," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "I would have went there and shook his hand myself if he caught that ball," McCutchen said. The Pirates Gregory Polanco went 1 for 5 with an RBI groundout a day after his much-hyped major league debut Tuesday. Making his sixth start of the season and fourth since being given a regular rotation spot, Cumpton allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. On his final pitch, he struck out Nate Schierholtz swinging with the bases loaded. "Its something I need to work on, getting through the fifth and sixth innings," Cumpton said. "It was a good experience, a real confidence booster for me." Justin Wilson, Tony Watson, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli followed with a hitless inning each. Grilli earned his 10th save of the season during what was his 400th career appearance. Hammel had won two previous starts against the Pirates this season and entered Wednesday with the second-best WHIP in the majors (0.88). He allowed 14 baserunners Wednesday. "It was rough," Hammel said with a laugh. "A lot of hits given up. Up in the zone. Obviously could have been better strikes thrown, but I battled through. It could have been a lot worse - 11 hits through five innings? Its amazing they only put up four." Hammel was spared a worse line by some poor baserunning by Pittsburgh, which hit into two peculiar double plays and had another runner thrown out at third during the seventh inning after Hammel was out of the game. The Pirates Starling Marte had two hits - including an RBI single in the fifth inning - but also was thrown out on the basepaths for the third time in two games when he was picked off third following a Travis Snider pop-up behind home plate in the fifth. The Cubs briefly tied the game at 2 in the second when John Bakers single drove in Valbuena and Nate Schierholtz scored on a groundout. Notes: Before the game, the Pirates places LHP Francisco Liriano on the disabled list because of a strained left oblique that caused him to leave his start Tuesday in the fourth inning. . The Cubs on Wednesday announced they signed their first-round draft pick, Indiana University catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber, the No. 4 overall selection, will report to the organizations short-season Class A affiliate in Boise, Idaho. . Pirates 2B Josh Harrison was removed from the game for a pinch hitter during the third inning because of discomfort in his left ankle. . A fireworks display - from the nearby annual Pittsburgh arts festival - rumbled PNC Park for several minutes during the fourth inning. . Pittsburghs Thursday scheduled starter, RHP Edionson Volquez, is 5-0 in his career against the Cubs. Chicagos probable starter, RHP Jeff Samardzija, has a 1.90 ERA in 71 career innings against the Pirates, including seven shutout innings on opening day at PNC Park. Los Angeles Dodgers Pro Shop . Today, well look at five frontcourt players today, here from the Bay Area. 1. AMIR JOHNSON (Raptors): I cant figure out what the issue or problem is, but based upon what Im seeing, hes not right. Steve Howe Jersey . This is the final meeting of the season between these teams.? The Capitals were 5-4 winners in a shootout Oct.ERIE, Pa. - Robby Fabbri scored three times and added an assist as the Guelph Storm crushed the host Erie Otters 7-1 on Monday in Ontario Hockey League playoff action. Scott Kosmachuk had a goal and two assists for the Storm, who lead the Western Conference final 3-0, while Kerby Rychel and Brock McGinn had a goal and an assist apiece. Tyler Bertuzzi also scored for Guelph and Matt Finn tacked on two assists. Connor Brown scorred the lone goal for the Otters, who will try to avoid elimination when they host Game 4 on Tuesday. Austin Barnes Jersey. . Justin Nichols made 23 saves for the Storm. Devin Williams stopped 22-of-27 shots for Erie in 42:04 of action before giving way to Oscar Dansk, who allowed two goals on 14 shots in relief. The Storm went 3 for 13 on the power play while the Otters scored once on six chances with the man advantage. ' ' '
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Joe Crede Jersey . -- The Royals shook up their coaching staff Thursday in an attempt to jumpstart their failing offence, making Dale Sveum the hitting coach and Mike Jirschele their third base coach. Pedro Grifol, who took over as hitting coach last season, will now instruct catchers. The moves were announced after the Royals finished off a disastrous homestand that included a sweep at the hands of Houston, and before they opened a four-game series in Toronto. Sveum said the Royals havent done a good enough job this season of hitting pitches in the upper half of the strike zone. "The bottom line is weve struggled with elevation and weve swung at pitches down in the zone probably way too much," he said. "From thigh high to the top of the strike zone, were not doing enough damage." The Royals began the day last in the majors with 21 homers, putting them on pace to match the 1976 club for the fewest in franchise history for a non-strike-shortened season. Theyre also last in the American League in runs and slugging percentage. "There is not one man in the lineup thats hitting the ball well," Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said Wednesday. "Were just cold." Yost said "a different voice can make a difference," to struggling batters, but the Royals have heard plenty of voices about hitting: Sveum is Kansas Citys fifth hitting coach in less than three seasons. The Royals let go of Kevin Seitzer two years ago in the hope that somebody else would help the club generate more power. Seitzer was eventually hired by the Blue Jays, who currently lead the majors with 76 homers -- more than Kansas City is on pace for all season. Jack Maloof and Andre David were hired before last season, but they only made it a couple of months before they were reassigned within the franchise. It was at that point that the Royals hired Grifol and Hall of Famer George Brett on an interim basis. The Royals showed signs of life once that duo was in charge, slowly climbing into playoff contention. Grifol was given the job on a full-time basis after Brett stepped down in July, but lasted less than a year in the role. "Hes the one that pulled us out of our trouble last year," Yost said of Grifol Thursday. "A year later, we find ourselves in the exact same spot." Sveum, a former Brewers and Cubs manager, had been serving as the Royals third base coach. But he also has plenty of experience as a hitting coach, helping Milwaukee finish in the top three of the National League in homers in each of his three seasons. "Hes got experience, he studies hitting," Yost said. "Hes got a lot of knowledge. He helped Prince Fielder get, in my opinion, to the next level as an offensive performer." Ross Detwiler White Sox Jersey . The goals took Liverpools tally in the Premier League this season to 70, overtaking Manchester City as the top scorers, and left the fourth-place team just four points behind league leader Chelsea. Hugh Duffy Jersey . The thinking at the time was Clowney could have already been promised he would be selected first overall by the Houston Texans, therefore negating any need to meet with any other teams. The plot took another twist this week.Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Steve Delabar is going back to the minors. The righty was sent back down to Triple-A Buffalo for the second time this week in order to make room for Liam Hendriks who will get the start Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds. Delabar waas sent down Tuesday but was called back up for Thursdays game against the New York Yankees when Brett Cecil went to the disabled list. Jack Mcdowell White Sox Jersey . The 30-year-old has appeared in 30 games this season, recording a 4.91 earned run average and a 3-0 record. ' ' '