PITTSBURGH -- Those pink bats, both novelties and reminders of an important cause, became scarce as Sunday's 12-inning marathon at PNC Park progressed.As Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen explained, "It's a very special gesture, and holds great symbolism for us. But when you get into those clutch late-game situations, you want something you're more comfortable with." Thus, by the time the 12th inning rolled around, the starters had long ago tucked the pink ones in the bat rack. But Clint Barmes hadn't started the game. He hadn't even stepped into the batter's box until the 12th inning. So wouldn't you know it? Barmes was one of the few players still gripping a pink bat, and he used his to lift a double to left field, a few minutes before scoring on Josh Harrison's single that gave the Pirates a 3-2 victory over Houston.
"I'm still on cloud nine. Very exciting," said Harrison, whose mom, Juanita, was sitting in the stands, making one of her frequent visits from the family's home in Cincinnati."Obviously this is always a big day, for all the good we can do for mothers everywhere," Barmes said. "It's a nice gesture, and even nicer when we can add some excitement like this to the end of the day." Before tabling his pink bat, McCutchen had put it to good use, singling with it to drive in a first-inning run. "It's always cool to get a hit that scores a run," he said. "Even cooler when you get it with the pink bat. Overall, a good Mother's Day."
Hanrahan reinstated; D. McCutchen to DL
PITTSBURGH -- Closer Joel Hanrahan was reinstated from the bereavement list, as scheduled, and was back in the Pirates' bullpen for Sunday's finale against the Astros.However, Daniel McCutchen is not returning to Indianapolis. McCutchen, recalled from the Triple-A club to take Hanrahan's place on the active roster, instead was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. McCutchen, who did not make an appearance since his Thursday recall, suffered the injury while taking batting practice prior to Saturday night's game. Hanrahan got back in town Saturday from funeral services for his grandmother, who passed away Wednesday.
Lincoln to make spot start in place of Bedard
PITTSBURGH -- When Brad Lincoln becomes the first Pirates pitcher to toe the rubber at new Marlins Park on Monday night -- he's stepping in for Erik Bedard, delayed by back spasms, in the opener of a two-game series -- he'll be making his first start since early April.Lincoln has excelled in a long-relief role after beginning the year in the rotation for Triple-A Indianapolis. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle does not know how long Lincoln will be able to pitch, but wants to see him do it with the same mentality. "He's been the best we've ever seen him," Hurdle said of the righty, whose ERA (0.63) in seven appearances is third lowest among National League relievers. "Most consistent, sharpest stuff -- I've just encouraged him to go as hard as he can as long as he can. We want him to keep pitching like he has been -- going out there with the mindset of just letting it go -- without giving him a [pitch-count] number." Lincoln has twice put in three-inning relief stints, picking up victories both times the Pittsburgh starter was kayoed by injury after one inning -- on April 18, when Jeff Karstens left with shoulder inflammation, and Bedard's May 9 start against the Nationals. In that latter appearance, Lincoln hit his season-high of 44 pitches. "He's a strong kid. We won't put him in a box," said Hurdle, admitting he and pitching coach Ray Searage will "start paying attention once he gets north of 60 [pitches]." Lincoln made 17 starts for the Bucs the previous two seasons, going six-plus innings in 12 of them.
Jeff Karstens, marking a month on the DL with shoulder inflammation, is traveling with the club and could step up his rehab to pitching "simulated batting practice" before next weekend. That likely means throwing to batters in the cage, with a pitch count. As a result of late-game maneuvers, Rod Barajas wound up taking over in the 10th at first base -- the catcher's first appearance there since July 9, 2008, as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Yes, A.J. Burnett had started that game, too. Clint Barmes can top that: After running for Barajas following his 10th-inning single, he also took over at first base -- his initial appearance there as a big leaguer. For that matter, James McDonald, the pitcher who brought a lifetime average of .071 into this season, was used as a 12th-inning pinch-hitter.
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.