Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hurdle Admits It Was Bad Weekend

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hurdle Admits It Was Bad Weekend

Article excerpt

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A recent rough stretch that pushed the Pirates out of first place was among the roughest series of games they have played all season, manager Clint Hurdle said Monday.

Entering their three-game series against the Texas Rangers, the Pirates had lost four consecutive games by an average of 5.5 runs.

"We just had a real rough weekend in St. Louis," Hurdle said.

"It's the first time that I can think of this entire year where we just pretty much had it handed to us for three games. We've lost some games, and we had some stretches. We got beat in Colorado, but nothing like that.

The Pirates lost their series finale Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers before getting swept by the now-first place Cardinals. None of those games were competitive.

But reliever Mark Melancon said those losses did little to shake the Pirates' resolve as they gear up for the final three weeks of the season.

"We have to wash it off," Melancon said.

"It would have been nice to get two out of three, or even pick up one."

Spirits were still high in the clubhouse Monday.

"And you know what?" Hurdle said. "Everybody showed up today. And they're ready to go, as bad as it might have felt [Sunday] after the game."

The Pirates entered this series with an eight-game lead over the Washington Nationals for the final National League wild-card spot.

And entering today, the Pirates, Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds are all within two games of one another for the division lead.

While Hurdle said there is some comfort in the team's positioning for a wild card, the preseason goal of winning the division remains unchanged.

"This is right now, I would think, one of the closest races I've ever been involved in, with three teams involved with three weeks to go," Hurdle said. "We still have a tremendous opportunity to get something done, based on what we do. …

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