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NL. The Cubs also lead

PITTSBURGH (AP) ? Jacob Stallings has 19 hits in parts of three major league seasons Lucas Giolito Jersey , and the rookie third-string catcher has made a some of them count.Stallings hit a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning to rally the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-6 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.It was Stallings? second career game-ending hit. The catcher also had one on Sept. 23, 2016, against Washington as a pinch hitter.After Jordan Luplow grounded into a double play, Kevin Kramer walked and moved to second on Kevin Newman?s single. Stallings then singled into left field off Ben Lively (0-3) for his third hit of the game, scoring Kramer.Stallings was not in the original lineup. He was told 2 hours before the game he would be subbing for ailing Francisco Cervelli.?It was pretty similar to my other one, same spot and same kind of pitch,? Stallings said. ?It was good to help the team on short notice. It was fun to come through for the guys.?Stallings has spent the last three years shuttling between Pittsburgh and Triple-A Indianapolis while stuck on the organizational depth chart behind Cervelli and Elias Diaz.?The biggest thing for me is staying ready http://www.whitesoxfanproshop.com/authentic-nicky-delmonico-jersey ,? said Stallings, whose father, Kevin, was the University of Pittsburgh?s basketball coach for two seasons before being fired in March. ?On a day like today, when I?m not ready to play, I?m still ready. You get paranoid because you never know what might happen.?Stallings has made a good impression on Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.?He puts his foot down early and hits the ball hard where it?s pitched. Old-school hitting,? Hurdle said. ?He?s done a very professional job on everything he?s done.?The Pirates scored twice with two outs in the eighth inning to tie the game at 6-all. The first run scored when first baseman Ryan O?Hearn failed to handle a throw from third baseman Hunter Dozier on a grounder by Pablo Reyes. Starling Marte followed with an RBI triple.Newman had three of Pittsburgh?s 16 hits as the rookie shortstop extended his hitting streak to six games and helped the Pirates win for the ninth time in 12 games.Edgar Santana (3-3) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.O?Hearn led off the top of the eighth with his 11th home run in 36 games since making his debut July 31 and gave the Royals a two-run lead.Josh Bell drew Pittsburgh to 5-4 in the seventh with a run-scoring single.O?Hearn?s RBI double capped a four-run fifth inning and put the Royals on top 5-3 following consecutive run-scoring singles by Adalberto Mondesi Reynaldo Lopez Jersey , Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez.Gordon doubled in the game?s first run in top of the third inning and Corey Dickerson countered with an RBI single in the bottom half. Adam Frazier?s two-run single in the fourth gave the Pirates a short-lived 3-1 lead.Kansas City?s Brad Keller allowed four runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings. Pittsburgh?s Joe Musgrove also pitched six innings, giving up five runs and eight hits.Keller got his first major league hit when he singled off Musgrove to lead off the fifth inning. It came in Keller?s second career at-bat after he struck out in the second.Keller was in line for his team-high ninth win until the Royals squandered the lead. He was selected from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 Draft in December after having never pitched above Class A.?He got us into the seventh and did a great job of doing that,? Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. ?He threw the ball really, really well. He put us in position to win.?O?Hearn?s homer to right field off Steven Brault was the first allowed by the left-hander in 117 career plate appearances against left-handed batters.TRAINER?S ROOMPirates: 2B Frazier (right knee discomfort) left for a pinch-runner immediately after hitting his double. . Cervelli (flu-like symptoms) was on deck ready to pinch-hit when Stallings delivered the game-winning hit. . Diaz (strained right hamstring) has been cleared to play after sitting out since Aug. 31. . Pitching coach Ray Searage underwent cervical surgery and assistant pitching coach Justin Meccage is taking his place.AND 31 YEARS LATER .Royals 2B Whit Merrifield played his first game in Pittsburgh. Merrifield?s father, Bill, was called up by the Pirates for one day late in the 1987 season then sent to instructional league to make the conversion from third baseman to first baseman.Bill Merrifield did not appear in a game and never returned to the major leagues.REMEMBERING MACA moment of silence was held for rapper/singer Mac Miller, who died last week. Miller was a Pittsburgh native and Pirates? fan.UP NEXTRoyals: LHP Eric Skoglund (1-5 http://www.whitesoxfanproshop.com/authentic-bruce-rondon-jersey , 6.19) makes his third appearance and second start Tuesday night since being sidelined from May 26-Sept. 6 with a sprained ligament in his left elbow.Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (13-9, 3.37) has allowed three earned runs or less in 19 straight starts. The Chicago Cubs (55-38) will try to increase their lead atop the National League Central against the St. Louis Cardinals (48-46) on Thursday when they kick off the second half of the season as solid home favorites at the sportsbooks. The Cubs lead the Milwaukee Brewers by 2.5 games and the Cardinals by 7.5 for first place in the division thanks to a three-game winning streak.MLB betting line: The Cubs opened as -150 favorites (wager $150 to win $100), according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark (line updates and matchup report).MLB betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 5.6-3.9, Cubs (MLB picks on every game).Check out the OddsShark podcast on iTunes or at OddsShark.libsyn.com for more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week?? top sports betting news. Why the Cardinals can pay on the MLB linesSt. Louis underachieved in the first half and took action by firing manager Mike Matheny, replacing him with Mike Shildt on an interim basis through the rest of the year. The Cardinals should get a spark from the move Chris Beck Jersey , knowing that nobody's job is safe at this point.The players need to turn things around for the future, starting with pitcher Carlos Martinez (6-5, 3.08 ERA). The 26-year-old Puerto Rican has been viewed as a potential ace at times but needs to perform better and win more games. Martinez picked up half of his wins in his past four starts after seeing his ERA rise from 1.40 to 3.24.Why the Cubs can pay on the MLB linesChicago remains the best team in the NL Central even though Milwaukee has proved to be a worthy contender similar to last year. Like St. Louis, this team needs better pitching in the second half, and Kyle Hendricks (6-8, 3.92 ERA) is capable of settling in as the No. 2 starter behind ace Jon Lester.Hendricks did finish the first half on a positive note, giving up five earned runs and 17 hits in 18.1 innings with two walks and 13 strikeouts over his last three outings. He continues to be a better pitcher at Wrigley Field as well Miguel Gonzalez Jersey , going 3-5 with a 3.18 ERA in nine starts there this season. Smart betting pickThe Cardinals have dropped two of the previous three meetings with the Cubs after winning four of the first five to start the season, according to the OddsShark MLB Database. Chicago got off to a slow start though and has played well lately en route to posting the best record in the NL. The Cubs also lead the league in run differential at plus-114 and will begin the second half with an easy victory here.MLB betting trendsSt. Louis is 2-4 in its last six games The total has gone over in five of St. Louis' last six games.The total has gone over in four of Chicago's last five games.All MLB odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report?? official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.

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