6/2/2014 9:29 P.M. ET
Hurdle lauds Harrison's power display
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- In the two weeks since moving into the lineup as the unrivaled sensation of the Pirates' season, Josh Harrison has also moved into conversations about baseball's best leadoff men.
On Sunday, Harrison went one step further: He joined the conversation about baseball's top power men, or at least those who've turned the rarest of power feats.
Harrison joined that club in the seventh inning of the Bucs' 5-3 victory at Dodger Stadium. He pulled a Chris Perez fastball into homer territory, but a few feet on the wrong side of the left-field foul pole.
Then deposited Perez's next pitch in the right-center grandstand.
Analyzing the nationally televised game on ESPN, Eric Karros simply said, "Wow!"
Sitting in the Bucs' first-base dugout, Clint Hurdle got chills.
"I had goosebumps," said the Pirates' manager, "and that doesn't happen very often."
Neither does what Harrison did. Batters are fortunate to get one pitch every at-bat to potentially hit hard. Barrel up two in one at-bat? Unusual. Two straight? Rare enough that Hurdle could only recall seeing it once as a player.
In the second game of a July 23, 1986, doubleheader between his Mets and the Padres, Hurdle was catching left-hander Sid Fernandez. Steve Garvey came to bat in the seventh inning.
"Garvey hit one into the second deck at Shea Stadium ... foul," Hurdle recalled. "I'm going, 'Whew, man, that was lucky.' Then he hit the next pitch into the second deck ... fair. Now I'm thinking, 'Wow. This must be the big leagues.'"
National audience gets a look at McCutchen's impact
SAN DIEGO -- Andrew McCutchen didn't exactly come out of hiding on Sunday night. If he's been a secret, it hasn't been a well-kept one.
After all, he had already hit for the popularity cycle. A vote of the fans put him on the cover of the 2013 edition of the video game, MLB The Show. Peers awarded him the Players Choice Award as the National League's Outstanding Player of 2012. The media stepped up to vote him the NL's Most Valuable Player last year.
Still, have a game like McCutchen did against the Dodgers on ESPN's national telecast, and appreciation and admiration of his talents have to grow.
"I guess it makes a lot of other people feel good," is the way Pirates manager Clint Hurdle put it, meaning people who do not share McCutchen's uniform. "I see him every day. So he doesn't have to do it on national TV to impress me."
McCutchen sandwiched two ringing doubles around a home run -- all three extra-base hits coming off Zack Greinke, a contender for a second Cy Young Award -- and also made a fabulous sliding catch to take a hit away.
"I do think it's an opportunity, with the market in which we play, for him to have an unveiling from time to time," Hurdle said. "A 'show' game like that is good for Pittsburgh, good for our organization, good for our city."
Also good for All-Star votes? Time will tell. McCutchen, campaigning to become only the seventh Pirates player elected to start an All-Star Game, was running second in votes among NL outfielders in last week's voting update.
Another update on the NL vote is coming on Tuesday, too soon to see whatever impact McCutchen's "show" game had on fans' balloting. However, there is a month remaining in the voting.
First number, last word
20-6: The Pirates' record, through Sunday, when they score at least four runs.
• "For the people throughout the scouting department, it's Opening Day times 10." -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, on the launch of the annual First-Year Player Draft, coming Thursday.
• With an off-day following this three-game series, the Pirates have the option of skipping Brandon Cumpton's next turn in the rotation. The staff is considering it, but would not want to send the wrong message. The young righty had the first sour start of his career Saturday, when the Dodgers roughed him up for 11 runs in 3 2/3 innings.
"We didn't bring him up to sit," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We haven't yet nailed anything down, but there's a better chance he's going to pitch [in turn] than not."
• Rather than pitch in a simulated game as originally planned, Stolmy Pimentel (shoulder inflammation) took a turn for the Class A Advanced Bradenton Marauders on Monday, throwing two hitless innings against Clearwater in a Florida State League game. That started the clock on his 30-day Minor League rehab. .
• With his two doubles and a homer on Sunday, Andrew McCutchen was the first to touch Zack Greinke for three extra-base hits in one game since Toronto's Marco Scutaro got to him for three doubles on June 5, 2009 -- in the middle of Greinke's American League Cy Young Award-winning season with the Kansas City Royals.
Arizona's Shawn Green (June 10, 2005) is the only other player to have done it.
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.