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Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle insists he hasn’t been keeping close tabs of his team’s slide following a hot start. He wasn’t aware the Pirates had dropped eight straight series until someone mentioned it to him earlier in the week.

”If somebody would have told me you’re going to lose eight series http://www.bengalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-logan-woodside-jersey , you’d think you’re going to be horrible,” Hurdle said. ”We’re not horrible. We’re fighting. And we believe that our best baseball is in front of us.”

It is, at least when the Pirates play the struggling Cincinnati Reds. Josh Harrison hit a two-run homer, Colin Moran and Elias Diaz added solo shots and the Pirates pulled away for a 6-2 victory on Saturday to push their modest winning streak to three and assuring themselves of their first positive series since taking a two-game set from the Chicago White Sox a month ago.

”We know what’s happened here the past couple weeks,” Harrison said. ”Guys are still plugging away and coming ready to show up every day and we’ve had three in a row. We know that doesn’t speak for what’s happened or what will happen. We’ve just got to continue to keep bringing it every day.”

Moran and Diaz both went deep off Luis Castillo (4-8) to give Pittsburgh the lead. Harrison hit his fourth of the season off reliever Austin Brice in the sixth. The Cincinnati native finished 2 for 4 is hitting .368 (14 for 38) against the Reds.

”Any time you can have a total offensive effort like that, it shows that we’re doing what we’re supposed to, taking advantage of mistake pitches and when presented with an opportunity to move a runner, get it done,” Harrison said.

Ivan Nova (4-5) worked through heavy traffic on a day his breaking ball abandoned him to last six innings and pick up his second victory in as many starts since returning from the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right ring finger. Nova allowed only Eugenio Suarez’s 13th home run in the second, striking out three while giving up three walks.

”I didn’t have the curveball today, but we grinded out there Youth Harrison Phillips Jersey ,” Nova said.

Castillo struggled keeping the ball on the right side of the fence at PNC Park, a problem that’s plagued the 25-year-old all season. He’s now allowed at least one home run in 15 of his 18 starts.

”It’s surprising because I’m trying to do my best and every time I get out there, I give up one or two home runs,” Castillo said after dropping his fourth straight decision. ”I really don’t know what’s happening right now. I’m just going to keep working in the bullpen and keep doing my best trying to help.”

Rookie Brandon Dixon hit his first major league home run off Pittsburgh reliever Michael Feliz in the ninth and Jesse Winker had two of Cincinnati’s seven hits to snap out of an 0-for-13 skid, but the Reds had issues taking advantage against Nova.

Cincinnati went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and is now 0 for 19 with runners in scoring position in the series.

”We’ve just got to get it going,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. ”You go through these things. We’ve got a good offensive ball club. We’ve shown it many times. We’re just in a little funk here where we’re not getting some timely hits.”

Moran broke a tie with his fourth home run of the season and first since June 2 when he sent Castillo’s pitch into the bullpen beyond the centerfield fence leading off the second. Diaz made it 3-1 when his fifth home run led off the third.

The Reds had their opportunities against Nova. They loaded the bases in the fourth only to have Billy Hamilton ground out to first to end the threat. Scott Schebler led off the fifth with a double but couldn’t get home and Hamilton came to the plate in the sixth with two runners on only to fly out to left field.

Hamilton finished 0 for 4 as his averaged dipped to .187.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: Reliever Richard Rodriguez (right shoulder inflammation) threw 20 pitches in a simulated game and is nearing a return from the 10-day disabled list. Rodriguez, who is eligible to come off the DL on Monday, said ”things feel really good right now.”

UP NEXT

Reds: Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 5.40 ERA) starts the series finale on Sunday. The 28-year-old picked up his first victory since 2016 in his previous start against St. Louis.

Pirates: Joe Musgrove (2-1, 2.16) makes his first career start against the Reds. Musgrove gave up two earned runs in five innings of a no decision on Monday against Arizona.



Julio Jones insists his status for training camp was never in doubt.

Jones, the five-time Pro Bowl receiver Youth Joel Iyiegbuniwe Jersey , was back for the start of Falcons training camp Friday after missing a mandatory minicamp in June while asking that his contract be reworked.

Jones dismissed reports he wouldn't report without a new deal as "he said, she said" speculation.

"We knew all along we were going to get it handled," he said.

For coach Dan Quinn, the most important fact was seeing No. 11 catching passes from Matt Ryan.

"It was awesome to have him back," said Quinn, adding Jones' routes were "really sharp and clean."

Jones drew cheers from fans when he caught a pass on the sideline in front of cornerback Desmond Trufant late in the practice.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff said Thursday the team made an "adjustment" to Jones' five-year, $71.5 million contract. Jones is entering the third year of the deal.

Dimitroff said the tweak to Jones' deal wouldn't affect the team's hopes to negotiate contract extensions for left tackle Jake Matthews, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, and safety Ricardo Allen. On Friday, the team agreed to a five-year, $75 million extension for Matthews.

The biggest new deal of all came earlier in the offseason 鈥?a five-year http://www.eaglesauthorizedshops.com/authentic-markus-wheaton-jersey , $150 million extension for Ryan, the most lucrative contract in NFL history.

Ryan's contract, and the team's talks with Matthews, Jarrett and Allen, were among the reasons Dimitroff said the Falcons couldn't renegotiate Jones' contract until after the season.

Jones confirmed he told Quinn this month he would report to training camp.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said at the NFL owners meeting in May he expected Jones to play his entire career with Atlanta.

"Our relationship has always been excellent so I had the confident in Thomas and the confidence in J.J. being a great Falcon for us not only on the field but off the field and a leader in the locker room," Blank said Friday.

Jones said he and Blank "reiterated what he had told us 鈥?that I'm going to be a Falcon forever."

Asked if it was difficult to be away from the team for the mandatory minicamp and other offseason work, Jones said he told Quinn "It was just me getting healthy as far as some stuff with me, getting back right and feeling 100 percent."

A healthy Jones is especially important to the Falcons' hopes of returning to their offensive form of their 2016 Super Bowl season, when they led the league in scoring.

One year ago, Jones was recovering from minor offseason surgery on his left foot and was limited in the first training camp with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkasian.

Jones didn't miss a game last season despite having two ankle injuries 鈥?plus back, ribs Isac Lundestrom Ducks Jersey , thumb and knee injuries.

Jones, who also participated in an informal passing camp led by Ryan in California this month, has no injury concerns.

"For me and for the team it's better than I'm healthy and can do everything," he said.

Quinn said wide receiver Russell Gage used advice from Jones to fine-tune a route at the California camp.

"Those were the things that don't show up on the stat sheet that often speak to who he is as a teammate," said Quinn of Jones.

It's not unusual for Jones to be included on Atlanta's game-week injury reports, but he has missed only three games the last four seasons. He has broken his right foot twice, at the NFL combine in 2011 and in 2013 when he missed 11 games.

Jones has remained one of the NFL's most productive receivers. He had 88 catches for 1,444 yards and three touchdowns in 2017. Jones and Marvin Harrison are the only players in NFL history to have at least 80 catches for at least 1,400 yards in four straight seasons

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