08/16/12 4:28 PM ET
Pirates' lineup breathing Cy of relief
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
"Hughes can stay even if Qualls returns." -- Manager Clint Hurdle's interesting, even if accidental, choice of words on the roster status of Jared Hughes, who was able to make a quick return from Triple-A Indianapolis as a replacement when Chad Qualls went on the bereavement list on Thursday
None of the three infielders has extensive experience at second base, but Jordy Mercer started Thursday's game there, because newcomer Yamaico Navarro was given some get-comfortable time and manager Clint Hurdle wanted to save Josh Harrison's versatility for the bench. This was the first big league appearance at second for Mercer, who has made 94 of his 493 Minor League appearances at the position. The Dodgers' streak of nine consecutive wins over the Pirates entering Thursday's game was the franchise's best since the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Bucs 13 straight times. Pedro Alvarez, who had to come off the bench after Neil Walker's first-inning injury on Wednesday and endured his first four-strikeout game of the season against lefty Clayton Kershaw, entered Thursday's game in a 69 at-bat homeless stretch dating back to July 23.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.