5/25/2014 1:52 P.M. ET
Pirates glad Marte's baserunning gaffe didn't cost win
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have won 14 one-run games. They also have lost 11 one-run games. Hence, more than half of their games through Saturday had been decided by one run.
Which will explain why no one was smiling over a baserunning gaffe by Starling Marte in the fifth-inning of Saturday night's game -- even after Marte had made good with the seventh-inning double that keyed the Bucs' two-run rally for a 3-2 win over Washington.
The one-run trend "speaks to what kind of team we are and what kind of games we're going to play," manager Clint Hurdle said.
"We can't take a pitch off. Marte took a pitch off last night," Hurdle added. "It won't happen again."
Marte had taken a power nap in the bottom of the fifth and, since he was running from first base at the time with none out and the Pirates trailing Stephen Strasburg, 2-1, this was not a good idea.
Marte, who had led off with a single, took off as Clint Barmes looked at a ball and slowed to a walk into second as shortstop Ian Desmond received catcher Wilson Ramos' throw. Problem: Barmes had a count of only 2-2, not 3-2 as Marte clearly thought.
So Marte walked into the tag, helping waste an opportunity against a tough pitcher.
"That's gonna have to be a reminder for the whole club," said Hurdle, perhaps grateful that the valuable lesson did not come with the price of a tough loss.
Red-hot Harrison making presence known
PITTSBURGH -- Josh Harrison, heretofore an afterthought to the extent he wore out the Pittsburgh-to-Indianapolis shuttle a year ago, has become the right-field guest who refuses to leave.
How appropriate for Harrison to have made the most of his 15 minutes of baseball fame, that pop culture slogan having been coined by Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol, whose museum is two blocks from PNC Park's home plate.
Harrison still has made only 14 starts this season -- only once in the first 29 games -- but has hit .345 (20-for-58) in them. Among other things, he has sparked and amused his teammates.
"We have kiddingly said in here, 'He thinks he invented the game.' The last two weeks ... I mean, talk about a blast," said manager Clint Hurdle, alluding to the fact everything Harrison has touched has turned to baseball gold.
Catching it, throwing it, hitting it ... Harrison has been all over it in leading the Bucs to five wins in six games, entering Sunday's game.
Last season, Harrison was optioned to the Triple-A Indians four times within the first three months of the season. Most awkwardly, two of the demotions came while the Bucs were engaged with Cincinnati, the hometown where Harrison is a big deal.
"Mom and Dad have got to be rocking in Cincinnati," Hurdle said with a smile. "And his posse ... when we'd go to Cincinnati, believe me they'd let me know about it when he isn't playing."
• Saturday's Stephen Strasburg (2009)/Gerrit Cole (2011) matchup was historically the 11th ever between pitchers who had been overall No. 1 selections in the First-Year Player Draft.
• Through Saturday, the Bucs had played 47 games since their only shutout, on Opening Day. That matched their longest stretch without pitching a shutout since May 9-June 29, 2010, when they also went 47 games without a whitewash.
First number, last word
4,892: Air miles the Pirates will cover during the 10-game trip beginning Monday in New York, continuing in Los Angeles and San Diego -- a leg they will do by bus.
"We'd like to win a lot more games by five runs. That would be a great step for us. But we've got guys who aren't afraid of it, who want the ball or want to be in the batter's box with the game on the line." -- GM Neal Huntington, on the Pirates' inclination for one-run games.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.