History 'n' the shaking: Cards-Bucs, Bravo!

Little League Classic caps weekend in Williamsport

History 'n' the shaking: Cards-Bucs, Bravo!

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Big league dreams came true on Sunday night at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.

The first MLB Little League Classic between the Pirates and Cardinals wasn't just a home run, it was a grand slam.

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Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards seize rare opportunity in Williamsport

Cards seize rare opportunity in Williamsport

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- The uniqueness of the game, the setting and the day's events that led up to Sunday night's Little League Classic against the Pirates were perhaps best captured in the final moments, when, after a 6-3 loss, the Cardinals didn't retreat to the historic Bowman Field's clubhouse but rather lined up and started walking across the diamond.

There they shook hands with the players against whom they had just competed, a moment that symbolized how this game wasn't just like any other.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards relish time with Little Leaguers

Cards relish time with Little Leaguers

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Before the Cardinals settled into the clubhouse at historic Bowman Field for Sunday's Little League Classic against the Pirates, they spent the morning interacting with the other teams of baseball players in town.

Those were, of course, the Little League World Series participants, many of whom had the opportunity to shoot selfies, snag autographs or play in front of the Major League players they'd love to become. In total, the Cardinals spent about two hours at the Little League World Series complex.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Piscotty remains with Cards; Voit optioned

Piscotty remains with Cards; Voit optioned

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Permitted to add a 26th man to the roster for Sunday's Little League Classic because of the unique mid-series travel involved, the Cardinals summoned outfielder Stephen Piscotty back from Triple-A Memphis.

But Piscotty's callup won't be a one-day stay. The Cards kept the 26-year-old on the roster, and in a corresponding move, they optioned first baseman Luke Voit to Triple-A Memphis on Monday.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gyorko homers, but Cards drop LL Classic

Gyorko homers, but Cards drop LL Classic

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- The Pirates and Cardinals spent most of Sunday afternoon serving as honored guests and humbled fans, taking in all the sights and sounds the Little League World Series has to offer. But while the day was dedicated to Little Leaguers, the big leaguers took center stage Sunday night as the Bucs beat the Cards, 6-3, in the inaugural MLB Little League Classic at historic Bowman Field.

For all the fun they had as fans, watching Little League World Series games and chatting up their younger counterparts in the stands, the Pirates and Cardinals knew they were in Williamsport for a reason: a Major League game in a Minor League ballpark before a crowd of Little League families. 

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards and Bucs shake hands a la LLWS

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Cards and Bucs shake hands a la LLWS

It's a classic element of almost all youth sports: When the game is over, you get in line and shake hands while telling your opposition "Good game." By the time you advance to the professional game, when wins and losses have become more important, the handshakes are long gone. 

But at Sunday's Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa., the Pirates and Cardinals brought back the move following Pittsburgh's 6-3 win.

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MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Little wonder: Classic unites kids of all ages

MLB's special event at LLWS proves worthy of repeating

Little wonder: Classic unites kids of all ages

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- From the mound, he could hear the rumble and see the wave, the shrieking of voices and the parting of bodies as the men in black and gold made their way through the stands. Here, in the midst of the game of Reid Hefflick's young life, came one of the more surreal moments of his young life.

"Oh my!" Hefflick, a 13-year-old member of Canada's Little League World Series squad who hit a three-run homer and pitched 3 2/3 effective innings in a win over Latin America, thought to himself. "The Pittsburgh Pirates are watching me pitching!"

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kangaroo-jack: Cards swipe Aussie's mascot

Kangaroo-jack: Cards swipe Aussie's mascot

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- First came the Rally Squirrel. Then came this year's Rally Cat. But now, St. Louis has taken the Australian Little League's blow-up kangaroo as the team's new good-luck mascot.

When the Cardinals visited the Little League Complex Sunday afternoon before MLB's first Little League Classic, they challenged Australia's players to a game of ping pong. But what started as a harmless game of table tennis quickly turned into, what Australia believes to be, a robbery.

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Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pham has special helpers customize his spikes

Pham has special helpers customize his spikes

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- After learning that he didn't have time to order specialty cleats for Players Weekend, as many of his teammates already had, Cardinals center fielder Tommy Pham quickly turned to devising a Plan B. It turned out to be even more meaningful than he could have hoped.

Instead of designing his own cleats, Pham had his outfitter send him two pairs of white ones. He knew the perfect people to decorate them.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lynn looks for ninth straight quality start

Lynn looks for ninth straight quality start

The Padres and Cardinals open a three-game series at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, following an off-day for both teams. Clayton Richard will take the mound for San Diego and face off against Lance Lynn.

Richard is coming off a shutout in his last outing -- the third shutout of his career and second complete game this season. No pitcher in the National League has thrown three complete games in 2017, as Richard will look to be the first to do so.

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Tim Powers is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matheny hopes LL Classic fosters 'passion'

St. Louis manager discusses historic event between Cards and Bucs

Matheny hopes LL Classic fosters 'passion'

PITTSBURGH -- The story of how close his Little League team from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, came to qualifying for the Little League World Series many years ago is one that Mike Matheny has enjoyed retelling several times leading up to Sunday's Little League Classic between the Cardinals and Pirates.

Matheny gets that trip now, albeit in a different capacity, but it is fitting that he's one of the two managers involved in this jewel event for Major League Baseball. Matheny, whose formative years were consumed by his involvement in sports, has been an advocate for youth sports and changes he believes are necessary within those settings.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Umpire Davis does double duty in Williamsport

Umpire Davis does double duty in Williamsport

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- For veteran umpire Gerry Davis, umpiring a game at the Little League World Series on Sunday brought him back to the beginning of his 35-season career.

Davis, who will be the crew chief of Sunday evening's inaugural Little League Classic between the Cardinals and Pirates on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET, was asked to join the Little League crew at second base for the first two innings of the Southeast vs. West game.

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Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards' late homers not enough after rain delay

Cards' late homers not enough after rain delay

PITTSBURGH -- Both Chad Kuhl and Michael Wacha picked up where they left off after a one-hour, 56-minute rain delay early Saturday afternoon. While Wacha struggled on the other side of the break, Kuhl seemingly only got stronger. Kuhl pitched five strong innings and the Bucs beat up on Wacha in the second, rolling to a 6-4 win at PNC Park.

The Pirates typically pull their starting pitchers when a rain delay exceeds 90 minutes. But they needed to preserve their tired bullpen and Kuhl threw only 25 pitches before the downpour, so they made an exception. The right-hander passed the time by playing catch and throwing off the mound in a batting cage. Then, he returned and completed five innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out six.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards optimistic Wainwright's season not over

Exam confirms elbow impingement; right-hander to receive plasma injection

Cards optimistic Wainwright's season not over

PITTSBURGH -- After receiving the results of Adam Wainwright's exam with team physician Dr. George Paletta on Friday, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said the Cardinals are "definitely optimistic" that the 35-year-old right-hander will pitch for the Cardinals again this year.

Paletta confirmed the initial diagnosis of an elbow impingement, and he prescribed a platelet-rich plasma injection. Wainwright will not throw for at least 10 to 14 days, and he will then build back up as quickly as his health will allow.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Historic Bowman Field gets MLB spotlight

Venerable Minor League park gets facelift for inaugural Little League Classic

Historic Bowman Field gets MLB spotlight

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- The anticipation of watching the inaugural MLB Little League Classic is building, but few realize how much work went into preparing the field for tonight's game on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET. Since March 1, a grounds crew team has been stationed in Williamsport to make historic Bowman Field ready to host the Cardinals and Pirates.

Bowman Field, which opened in 1926, is one of the oldest Minor League ballparks and has undergone multiple renovations over the years. But not even the last upgrade after the conclusion of the 1999 season made the field close to Major League ready.

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Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Tsunami' excited to don Players Weekend gear

Martinez, Cardinals will be among 1st to sport jerseys in Williamsport, Pa.

'Tsunami' excited to don Players Weekend gear

ST. LOUIS -- Making waves is something Carlos Martinez has done since he started playing professional baseball, which makes his "Tsunami" nickname fitting.

When Martinez learned that he could choose a moniker for the back of his jersey, made by Majestic Athletic, for the inaugural Players Weekend on Aug. 25-27, the decision to wear "Tsunami" was instantaneous.

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Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Fun, no matter the size: Pros, kids unite at LLWS

Historic weekend culminates with Bucs-Cards matchup in Little League Classic

Fun, no matter the size: Pros, kids unite at LLWS

The squad from Lufkin, Texas, had just won its regional tournament in Waco, securing advancement to the sacred sporting ground that is Williamsport, Pa., and the Little League World Series. Steve Keener, the president and chief executive officer of Little League International, was there at the team hotel afterward to congratulate the kids and to remind them that this would be an LLWS unlike any other, because the big leaguers from the Pirates and Cardinals would be paying them a visit and then playing a game mere minutes from the Little League site.

That's when a young boy, who just so happens to idolize Andrew McCutchen, shrieked with sudden delight.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lucas makes Majors debut for Cardinals

Reliever yields one run over two frames; righty Mayers optioned to Triple-A

Lucas makes Majors debut for Cardinals

PITTSBURGH -- The Cardinals are trying another new arm in their bullpen, this time adding right-hander Josh Lucas to the roster on Saturday in place of Mike Mayers, who was optioned back to Triple-A Memphis after the team's win on Friday.

Lucas had to be added onto the 40-man roster, which is now full, and he made his Major League debut in Saturday's 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh. In relief of starter Michael Wacha, Lucas worked around two singles in a scoreless fifth inning before being stung by a solo homer in the sixth. It was the lone run he allowed while striking out two in the appearance.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Alvarez drives in six for Springfield

Alvarez drives in six for Springfield

Trevor Stephan, the Yankees' No. 30 prospect, led the Class A Short Season Staten Island pitching staff with a dominant performance in a 5-0 win over Lowell on Saturday.

For a second straight start, Stephan dealt four hitless innings as Staten Island came within three outs of a combined no-hitter. He struck out six batters and did not issue a walk. It's an impressive feat for a pitcher who is still adjusting to professional ball after he was selected in the third round of this June's Draft.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pham, Carpenter, DeJong homer in victory

Pham, Carpenter, DeJong homer in victory

PITTSBURGH -- The Cardinals have stormed into the thick of the National League Central race on the strength of their lineup, and they needed every last bit of it Friday night. The Cards' bullpen nearly let an eight-run lead slip away but withstood a furious Pirates rally to give St. Louis an 11-10 win over Pittsburgh at PNC Park.

"Never a doubt. Never a doubt," Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter insisted. "It was interesting, for sure. But I knew we'd find a way to finish it off."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wong's journey shines a light on Hilo baseball

Wong's journey shines a light on Hilo baseball

PITTSBURGH -- Kolten Wong may have put Hilo, Hawaii, on the baseball map with his ascension to the Majors in 2013, but the largest city on what is commonly referred to as the Big Island is making its mark on the youth baseball circuit, as well.

Hilo recently won the Senior Baseball Division Championship of the 2017 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series to earn the city's first title in the 25-year history of that tournament. Meanwhile, Hilo's PONY League team (11-12-year-old division) captured its fourth state title in the last five seasons, and Hilo's Little League team secured its first state Majors championship in 30 years.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards piecing together 'pen without Rosenthal

Cards piecing together 'pen without Rosenthal

PITTSBURGH -- The Cardinals have picked a path of patience en route to determining what's next for Trevor Rosenthal, their closer now sidelined by an elbow injury. The club isn't afforded the similar luxury of time, however, when it comes to finding a way to replace him in the bullpen.

St. Louis was reminded on Friday of how precarious those late innings can be without its most reliable arm. The eight-run lead the Cardinals carried into the eighth inning narrowly stood in an 11-10 victory at PNC Park that saw the Pirates advance the tying run to third in a ninth inning that required three relievers to secure three outs.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rosenthal to receive second opinion on elbow

Rosenthal to receive second opinion on elbow

PITTSBURGH -- Trevor Rosenthal will seek a second opinion on his ailing right elbow from Dr. Neal ElAttrache next week before the Cardinals determine whether the right-handed reliever will require surgery to repair a compromised ligament.

John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, said the Cardinals will refrain from drawing any conclusions about the severity of the injury until they receive the results of that visit.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wainwright to DL with elbow impingement

Cardinals recall right-hander Mayers

Wainwright to DL with elbow impingement

PITTSBURGH -- Unable to will his arm to loosen enough to allow the pitches to come freely and the velocity to rise, Adam Wainwright endured another early exit in Thursday's 11-7 win over the Pirates, returned to St. Louis for medical tests on Friday and was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow impingement.

The Cardinals recalled right-hander Mike Mayers from Triple-A Memphis to fill the open roster spot.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals turn rally into romp, end losing streak

Cardinals turn rally into romp, end losing streak

PITTSBURGH -- After four innings Thursday night at PNC Park, the Cardinals trailed by three runs. Then came the rain and the runs. The Cards rallied for two runs before 72-minute rain delay, scored three more in the seventh inning and added four more in the ninth, sailing to an 11-7 win over the Pirates at PNC Park.

The offensive outburst marked the fourth time in 11 games that the Cardinals scored in double digits. They had previously done so just seven times in 110 games. 

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.