SS Jordy Mercer missed his second straight game because of lower back tightness Wednesday night as the Pirates beat Boston 9-1. He is considered day-to-day.

LHP Francisco Liriano (6-10) won his third straight start, allowing only one run in six innings despite issuing five walks. Liriano is 5-3 with a 2.16 ERA in 12 starts since the All-Star break with 82 strikeouts in 75 innings after going 1-6 with a 4.60 ERA in 14 first-half starts.

LF Travis Snider was rested after starting six games in a row. The only longer streak of games started Snider has had this season was 13 from Aug. 10-23.

RHP Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.92) will start Thursday night against Boston. Cole is 2-1 with a 4.31 ERA in five starts since returning from the disabled list Aug. 20 after missing six weeks with a strained right lat. He has never faced the Red Sox.

1B/3B Pedro Alvarez took ground balls while on his knees during pre-game drills. However, it remains doubtful that Alvarez will return this season as he has a stress reaction in his left foot.