PIT@CIN: Resop fans Bruce to escape bases-loaded jam

MILWAUKEE -- If there is such a thing as a 19-inning game specialist, former Pirates reliever Chris Resop may be it.

Resop pitched the eighth and ninth innings for the A's in their Monday night/Tuesday morning 10-8 victory over the Angels in 19 frames.

"We saw that, and had our own little in-house chuckle," said Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle, himself a 19-inning expert. "Everyone here wanted to call Resop."

Resop, who went to Oakland in an offseason deal for Minor League right-hander Zach Thornton, allowed one hit in 1 2/3 innings against the Angels, with a walk and a strikeout.

It was the righty's second deja vu experience.

On July 26, 2011, he pitched a scoreless 10th in the Bucs' 4-3 loss in Atlanta in 19 innings. And last Aug. 19, he blanked the Cardinals from the 11th through the 13th on the way to a 6-3 win in 19.

"You've done it once, that's good. Do it a second time, that's more than enough," Hurdle chuckled. "You don't need to do it again any time soon. But he did."

Resop's totals for the three marathons: 5 2/3 innings, four hits, no runs, one walk and five K's.

Asked whether Bob Melvin and/or Mike Scioscia have called for tips on how to deal with the aftermath of 19 innings, Hurdle said, "No. My phone has been dead."

Contreras nearly ready to join Pirates' relief corps

MILWAUKEE -- The bridge to the Pirates' yard will always have Roberto Clemente's name on it, but the bridge to Pirates closer Jason Grilli will have a new span when the club returns to PNC Park.

Barring any unforeseen setbacks, Jose Contreras will be signed to a Major League contract for Friday night's opener of a five-game homestand.

Contreras completed his rehab from last June's Tommy John surgery with another scoreless inning in Triple-A Indianapolis' Tuesday morning game.

"We're thinking of bringing him back Friday for the opener of the series with Washington," manager Clint Hurdle said. "If he feels well [Wednesday], that's what we anticipate."

Activating Contreras will probably again shorten the stay of Bryan Morris, who was called up Tuesday in place of Jonathan Sanchez when the left-hander was designated for assignment.

In a total of six relief appearances while working his way up the Pirates' Minor League chain, Contreras logged seven innings and allowed three runs, walking one and striking out eight.

Contreras, a 41-year-old Cuban right-hander, will be resuming a Major League career consisting of 292 appearances, the last 101 in relief for the 2010-12 Phillies.

Worth noting

• Travis Snider (right-side tightness) pronounced himself ready to play after a "nothing held back" early afternoon workout. He was available to both hit and play defense off the bench Tuesday night, and he is likely to return to the starting lineup in Wednesday afternoon's series finale.

• Neil Walker (right-hand gash) worked out on defense -- fielding grounders and throwing -- with "no restrictions," but couldn't yet grip a bat, and Hurdle isn't keen on using him as just a defensive replacement. Walker, who said the daily progression of how his hand feels is dramatic, still hopes to have the six stitches removed from his index knuckle by the weekend.

• Lefty Francisco Liriano (fractured right arm) has one more rehab start remaining following his six-inning outing Tuesday morning for Triple-A Indianapolis. Liriano threw 82 in-game pitches (and nine more in the bullpen), and will aim to reach 100 in the remaining start.

First number, last word

1945: The last year a Pirates pitcher led the National League in strikeouts (Preacher Roe, with 145). A.J. Burnett is the current league leader with 48 whiffs.

"It's the evolution of the club. I've seen it with other teams. It's important that they know it. It's important that Andrew knows it." -- Hurdle, on the balance in his lineup that has allowed the Pirates to go 8-3, even with Andrew McCutchen fighting through a 5-for-37 slump.