CHC@PIT: Correia allows two runs on just four hits

SAN DIEGO -- Despite having two fresh arms in callups Kyle McPherson and Justin Wilson, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle tabbed Kevin Correia, who pitched two innings in Pittsburgh's 19-inning win on Sunday, as the starter for Monday's series opener with the Padres.

Correia threw 24 pitches in two scoreless innings against the Cardinals, and will become the first Pirate since 1981 to start a game a day after appearing in relief. Part of the reason for choosing Correia, Hurdle said, was simply his willingness to take the ball.

"Before we even tried to evaluate, Correia came out of the game ... and he reached out and said, 'Hey, whatever you guys need tomorrow, I can give you some innings,'" Hurdle said.

Another part of the decision was that Correia is a known quantity for Hurdle and his staff. The righty was a part of the Pittsburgh rotation until recently, with 21 starts in 23 appearances. He's 9-7 with a 4.56 ERA overall.

But, more importantly to Hurdle, Petco Park is a known quantity for Correia. The 31-year-old is a San Diego native who went 22-21 in 61 appearances for the Padres in 2009 and '10.

"I feel confident in Kevin being able to know he can pitch here," Hurdle said. "He's had success here. He knows this team. I leaned more in that direction of doing that than the unknown."

Hurdle said he doesn't anticipate Correia going much further than 75 pitches. Both McPherson and Wilson will be available in relief, as will Jason Grilli, Joel Hanrahan and Tony Watson. Chris Resop and Jared Hughes will both be unavailable to back Correia after being stretched over the weekend.

Pirates recall McPherson, Wilson

SAN DIEGO -- After burning starters and relievers alike in Sunday's 19-inning win, the Pirates desperately needed some fresh arms in their bullpen. As a result, Pittsburgh recalled righty Kyle McPherson and lefty Justin Wilson from Triple-A Indianapolis for Monday's opener with the Padres.

The Indians were in Syracuse playing the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate the Chiefs when word spread that the big league club was locked in that draining battle, which had many of the Indians' young arms thinking maybe a call was coming.

"Everybody was champing at the bit, spreading word, you know -- 19 innings, who's available, who's down today, who's up tomorrow?" McPherson said. "It's one of those things you think about, but you can't really worry about. It's out of your hands."

Despite highly decorated Minor League tenures, neither hurler has pitched in the big leagues. The 24-year-old McPherson was the Pirates' Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, and the 25-year-old Wilson is currently leading the International League with 130 strikeouts.

Wilson, a California native, was particularly excited to get the call, as he'll have family in the stands at Petco Park if he makes his Major League debut.

"My parents were actually in Syracuse with us. ... So they flew back here this morning. Wife, sister are all coming," Wilson said. "I'm extremely excited."

In order to make room on the 25-man roster, the Pirates made two moves Monday. One of them was easy: infielder Jordy Mercer was placed on the paternity list to be with his wife, Kasey, after the birth of his son, Maverick Lee Mercer, in Oklahoma.

The other move was more difficult: the Pirates designated righty Juan Cruz for assignment. Cruz, 35, had a 2.78 ERA in 43 appearances this season, but was walking 4.8 batters per nine innings with a 1.63 WHIP.

"He showed up for us in the first two months of the season and pitched as well as anyone on our club," Hurdle said of Cruz, who's pitched in 447 games with seven teams since his debut in 2001. "We appreciate the effort, he's been very professional the whole time he's been here. This is just a baseball decision at the end of the day."

McKenry catches second 19-inning game

SAN DIEGO -- By the 19th inning of Sunday night's win over the Cardinals, Pirates catcher Mike McKenry was probably having deja vu -- or at least his quads probably were. The man behind the plate for all 19 innings was also the man squatting behind the dish for the entirety of a six-hour, 39-minute 19-inning loss to the Braves on July 26, 2011.

"If you asked me after the game last year, I was hurting," McKenry said. "Yesterday, I never felt down. ... I woke up this morning with a smile on my face and actually felt great, which was really strange. I could go again today in a heartbeat."

He didn't have to, as manager Clint Hurdle gave veteran Rod Barajas the start for Monday's series opener with the Padres.

"Of course you [feel it]," McKenry said. "As a catcher, the longer you're in the game, the more foul tips you're gonna get, the more blocking you're gonna get, but I know my No. 1 job ... catch the ball well, call the game right and keep the ball in front of me. All my focus was on that."

Calling the game, in itself, was no easy task. The Pirates used eight pitchers and the Cardinals sent 14 men to the plate -- some of them as many as nine times -- in the win.