Marte gives himself an assist on assist

Marte gives himself an assist on assist

PITTSBURGH -- Starling Marte stumped on Tuesday night for the Gold Glove he covets. Putouts by left fielders are plentiful, even if some of Marte's catches have been spectacular. But assists? Those are golden when it comes to grabbing award voters' attention.

So when Chicago's Anthony Rizzo ripped a drive toward him with men on first and second and one out in the sixth inning of Tuesday night's game, Marte quickly surveyed the situation: Chris Denorfia, the baserunner on second, was leaning back toward the bag because the ball loomed catchable.

The drive indeed seemed to have enough air underneath it for Marte to speed in for a catch, but he appeared to slow down to field it on one short hop, then fired a strike to third baseman Aramis Ramirez to force Denorfia. Your basic 7-5 force play.

But Marte wouldn't explicitly admit sandbagging his opponent.

"I saw him heading back to the base because he thinks I can make the catch," Marte said. "That's a tough play for the runner, because you don't know what's going to happen. But yes, then it was an easy play for me."

The play netted Marte his ninth assist of the season -- one more than any other National League left fielder.

Touching all the bases

• First: Upon further thought, manager Clint Hurdle decided to use Francisco Liriano's two-inning rained-out start on Monday to bring him back a day earlier than originally scheduled. The pitching lineup for the weekend series against the Dodgers is now Gerrit Cole, Liriano and Charlie Morton.

• Second: Michael Morse will get a couple of starts against Los Angeles. He'll be at first base on Friday against Clayton Kershaw and again on Sunday against Alex Wood, another lefty. Morse's history against both is limited: 2-for-6 off Kershaw, 1-for-7 (a home run) off Wood.

• Third: Righty Deolis Guerra, designated for assignment on Friday, was claimed on waivers by the Indians on Wednesday. Guerra had allowed 12 runs in his last six relief appearances, covering 9 2/3 innings, with the Bucs.

• Home: Wednesday was the 94th anniversary of the first radio broadcast of a baseball game, by Pittsburgh's KDKA, an 8-5 win over the Phillies in Forbes Field.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.