Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Struggling Hitters Take Ride on Offensive Train

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Struggling Hitters Take Ride on Offensive Train

Article excerpt

The Pirates bats got extremely hot in Detroit and the result was a three-game series against the Tigers in which they produced 49 hits and scored 22 runs.

A key to the surge is that Jordy Mercer, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez have busted out of slumps in the past week.

Mercer said that hitting is contagious and said that having Walker rolling is important because he drives in runs from different spots in the lineup and from both sides of the plate.

"When it is going like this you don't want to be the guy to get out, you want to pass the baton and keep things rolling," Mercer said. "I think we have had four or five guys get hot at the right time and when you can get five or six guys on a roll, I think the sky is the limit for this team.

"I think whether you put Neil in front of [Andrew McCutchen] in the lineup or behind him the other team knows they can't just settle down on Cutch, they know they have to deal with Neil, too, and when you figure in [Starling] Marte, who has been hitting, putting those three back-to-back-to-back it makes us really dangerous."

Josh Harrison said that the key to the Pirates success against Detroit and, he hopes, the rest of the season is that all eight hitters in the lineup were tough outs.

He said if you look at the lineup, their strength is their versatility and the way they all seem to complement each other and in turn rely on each other.

"We have a good group of guys," Harrison said. "And our pitchers have also had good at-bats and have gotten some bunts down and things like that. So when you have guys one through eight and can do different things, guys who can run, guys who can hit for power, etc., it puts pressure on the other side."

Pitching moves

The Pirates lost minor league pitcher Clayton Richard, who was acquired by the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations. Richard had a clause in his contract which stated if another team wanted him for their 25-man roster the Pirates had to trade him.

Also, highly regarded Jameson Taillon had another setback in his road to recovery from Tommy John surgery as the Pirates announced he will have surgery to repair an inguinal hernia. …

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