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July 7, 2014

Pirates notebook: Team enjoying series success

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ recent success – a tear that has seen the club post a 37-23 record since May 2 – has been a result of a pair of positive series trends that will be tested with a four-game series in St. Louis and a weekend set in Cincinnati before the All-Star Break.

Pittsburgh, which  opened its series at St. Louis after a 45-minute rain delay on Monday in a game that did not end in time for Tuesday's print edition of The Tribune-Democrat, has won five straight series on the road – a feat that has not been turned by the club since June 7-July 11, 1982.

Taking the four-game set against the Cardinals would push Pittsburgh to its sixth straight road-series win, something that hasn’t happened since a run of road series from June 25-July 31, 1938 according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Winning the four-game series over the Cardinals (47-42 entering Monday) would also push the Pirates (47-41) to their fifth consectutive four-game series victory.

After dropping the first two four-game series of the year, Pittsburgh has claimed series wins over the Nationals (May 22-25), the Dodgers (May 29-June 1), the Cubs (June 9-12) and the Mets (June 26-29), taking three of four in each of those sets.

Utility works: Infielder/outfielder Josh Harrison – one of the three Pirates named to the National League All-Star team – was the first utility player named to the NL All-Star squad since Atlanta’s Omar Infante was selected in 2010. Entering Monday’s game, Harrison is batting .316 (25-for-79) with three doubles, a triple, home run, 10 RBI and 11 runs scored in 21 games dating back to June 14.

Becoming a trend: With Harrison, reliever Tony Watson and center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who was voted in as a starter, selected for the All-Star Game at Target Field on July 15, the Pirates have sent multiple representatives to the Midsummer Classic in four consecutive years. It’s the first time that the club has done so since 1990-93.

McCutchen’s selection is the fourth straight for the reigning NL MVP.

McCutchen is the first Pirates outfielder to be selected to four straight All-Star Games since Roberto Clemente (1969-72).

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