Pirates notebook: McCutchen hopes mom brings good luck

| Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, 6:09 p.m.

Andrew McCutchen's mother, Petrina McCutchen, will sing the national anthem on Tuesday, and the Pirates center fielder is hoping she might bring him some luck in the National League wild-card game against the Cincinnati Reds.

“I think I did hit a home run the last time she sang,” McCutchen said, talking about a game against the Miami Marlins on Aug. 7. “It would be great to continue to keep that going. If it happens again, maybe she needs to come back.”

Petrina McCutchen has sang the anthem for the Pirates twice. McCutchen said he hasn't talked to his mother, a gospel singer, much about Tuesday's performance, but he's sure she's excited.

“The fact that she hasn't really talked about it means that she's excited, and it means she's nervous,” he said. “But I'm sure she'll do a pretty good job.”

McCutchen received a scare during batting practice Monday when he took a ball off the face. Afterward, he said he was fine.

“I'm awesome,” McCutchen said. “I really think I hurt the ball. I got to go apologize to it.”

McCutchen later said on Twitter: “The ball that hit me will be out for the remainder of the postseason with 5 ripped seams and a bruised ego...#SorryImNotSorry.”

Pregame happenings

Right-hander and 1990 Cy Young winner Doug Drabek will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. He was the starting pitcher for the Pirates' previous playoff game, 21 years ago against the Atlanta Braves.

Federal Street will be closed beginning at 10 a.m. and PNC Park gates will open at 6 p.m. The PNC Park Riverwalk will open at 5:30 p.m. Parking lots on the North Shore will open at 4 p.m., and fans not holding pre-sold passes and arriving after 6 p.m. are urged to park downtown.

Hot ticket

Tickets for the sold out wild-card game are hot by any measure. The average ticket on Monday was selling for $144, according to SeatGeek, which monitors sale prices in the secondary market. That is 324 percent higher than the average regular-season Pirates ticket, $34, on the secondary market.

Since the Pirates clinched home-field advantage for the wild-card game on Saturday, tickets were averaging $170, up from $113. Some club seats have sold for $900. The cheapest ticket, standing room, was selling for $134.

By comparison, the Tampa Bay-Texas play-in game Monday averaged $77 per ticket, and the American League wild-card game in Cleveland was averaging $140.

Reds' Phillips ready

Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Monday that second baseman Brandon Phillips, who left the game Saturday after fouling a ball off his leg, will play Tuesday.

Baker would not divulge whether he plans to put outfielder Billy Hamilton on the roster. Hamilton went 7 for 19 and stole 13 bases in 14 tries in September after being called up from Triple-A.

Cole gets rookie honor

Gerrit Cole was voted the National League rookie of the month for September after posting a 4-0 record in five starts and leading all qualifying rookie pitchers with a 1.69 ERA and 39 strikeouts. Cole's four wins tied for the lead in the National League.

It is his first career monthly award and the first by a Pirates rookie since Pedro Alvarez in September 2010.

Message to homeland

After speaking with reporters through assistant trainer and translator Tomas Vera following his bullpen session on Sunday, Reds starting pitcher Johhny Cueto asked to send a message to fans back home in the Dominican Republic.

Cueto asked them to follow Tuesday's game, featuring not only him but fellow Dominican native Francisco Liriano for the Pirates.

Cueto also had advice for Dominican youth. “You have to work hard, and continue working hard, to do things like this,” Cueto said. “This is what we need.”

Staff writer Bob Cohn contributed. Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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