Pirates’ upgrades continue as they pick up Justin Morneau
The Pirates moved back into a tie atop the National League Central by shutting out the Cardinals behind another stellar Francisco Liriano start Friday night. With just 28 games left to play, Pittsburgh holds a 9 1/2 game lead over the third-place team in the NL wild-card race. Their next win will tie their total from last year, which matched their high-water mark from the last 20 years, and if it comes Saturday night, it will happen before September and move them into first place all alone yet again. The Pirates are going back to the playoffs this year for the first time since 1992, but they’re not taking anything for granted. Just five days after acquiring Marlon Byrd from the Mets to greatly improve their production in right field, and with hours left before Saturday night’s deadline for newly acquired players to be eligible for the playoffs, the Pirates have acquired former American League Most Valuable Player Justin Morneau from the Twins to improve, albeit less dramatically, their team performance at first base.