PITTSBURGH -- When you commit a violation on the road, chances are you will wind up in traffic school. Accordingly, the Pirates fielders who committed multiple violations on the field Friday night had to attend manager Clint Hurdle's train-wreck school.Classes followed a similar curriculum: You had to sit through video demonstrations of the right and wrong way to handle moving objects, in this case baseballs. "I show them good stuff, as well as stuff that didn't work out so well. It's as effective a way of coaching people up as any," said Hurdle, who made clear the video sessions were hardly a type of punishment. "By showing them the plays, they're able to watch it from a different vantage point. More often than not, we didn't keep moving through balls like we should've," the manager explained. "Let's not stick our head in the sand. 'Here's what happened, and here's how we want you to handle it next time.'" The "students" included second baseman Brock Holt (two fielding errors), shortstop Josh Harrison (one fielding error), catcher Rod Barajas and first baseman Gaby Sanchez (a throwing error each). Left fielder Starling Marte got his own class after rushing himself into a throwing error and also having a fielding error, both in the third inning. "One time, he panicked," Hurdle said of Marte's first error, on which he first bobbled then wildly heaved the ball on Alfonso Soriano's single. "He grabbed it and just fired it in. We need to slow down our heartbeat on that."
Pirates catch break after making seven errors
PITTSBURGH -- The reward for the Pirates' nightmarish game on Friday night? A do-over. After they had booted and thrown away a 12-2 loss to the Cubs, the two teams they are contesting for a National League Wild Card berth both lost.The Dodgers' West Coast action and the Cardinals' rain-delayed extra-inning game both ended way past Clint Hurdle's bed time. But a morning call from his dad filled him in. "My dad pointed out that everyone lost. So, yeah, how about that?" the Pittsburgh manager said about having gotten the ultimate mulligan. "That would be one way to look at it." Friday's results left the Pirates still tied with the Dodgers, and 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis, which currently holds the second Wild Card spot. "The fact other teams we're battling with didn't win either," Hurdle said, "means we caught a break." That was about all the Pirates caught Friday night, when their seven errors on defense combined with four hits on offense made them the first team since 1931 with that combination. The Boston Braves had seven miscues while getting three hits in dropping the second game of a doubleheader in Philadelphia -- by the same 12-2 score. "There's no way you can go through the 5 1/2 months we've gone through together and not feel the sting of a game like that," Hurdle said. "No doubt when you play the game we played, there's frustration out there in the clubhouse. "But I do not expect any carryover today. That's not acceptable."
"He has to figure out a way to stay in his world, where nothing bothers him. Whether he throws a ball or gives up a homer ... whatever happens, he just gets that ball back and throws the next pitch without concerns. That's when he's at his best -- and we've seen how good that can be."
-- A.J. Burnett on James McDonald and what can get him back to his first-half mode.
Jeff Karstens (strained right hip flexor) threw a bullpen session Saturday. Assuming no complications during the two intervening rest days, he will throw a simulated game in Cincinnati on Tuesday -- the same day Kevin Correia starts against the Reds. Travis Snider (strained right hamstring) resumed taking batting practice prior to Saturday's game. He and Jose Tabata (left foot contusion) were tentatively available off the bench. Andrew McCutchen's streak of reaching base against the Cubs ended at 40 straight games on Friday. He went 0-for-3 -- twice robbed on sensational outfield catches.
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.