Pirates notebook: Inge breathes easier after home run
SEATTLE — Brandon Inge's three-run homer Tuesday did more than jump-start the Pirates to an easy win against the Seattle Mariners.
“It probably was as good for him personally as it was for the team,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
It was Inge's first home run in 128 at-bats, dating to Aug. 1, 2012, when he was playing for the Oakland A's.
“I don't like zeros in that stat,” Inge said. “So to get that out of the way is good. I can relax and get back to my normal swing.”
The long drought troubled Inge, 36, who knows the Pirates signed him to provide some pop off the bench. Making the transition to being a role player instead of an everyday guy has been difficult for the 13-year veteran.
“It's kind of hard to figure out when the at-bats are going to come,” Inge said. “It makes you press a little bit more. I've never had to do it before in my career, and I'm trying to figure it out.”
Inge has played in 43 of the Pirates' 78 games but has gotten just 92 at-bats. He's hitting .207 with a meager .503 OPS and seven RBI.
This is Inge's first year with a National League club, but he said it's just coincidence that his first homer happened in an American League ballpark. In 36 career games at Safeco Field, Inge hit only .202 with two homers.
“This hasn't been known as much of a hitter's park,” Inge said. “Although they did move those fences in this year, which has definitely helped.”
Marte's many tools
Starling Marte got his first career two-homer game Tuesday, hitting solo shots off Mariners starter Joe Saunders in the second inning and reliever Carter Capps in the eighth. Marte jumped on the first pitch both times.
“He loves to swing the bat,” Hurdle said. “He showed there is a power tool there and it is legit.”
Power is not Marte's only tool, though. On Saturday, in a victory against the Los Angeles Angles, he made a laser throw to gun down Howie Kendrick, who was trying to score from second on a single.
“I think it caught them off guard that he might throw home,” Hurdle said. “It's not often you see a left fielder with an arm like his.”
Marte has defense, power ... and speed. He opened Tuesday's game with a triple to right field, easily beating a near-perfect relay.
“I don't get focused on power; I just try to hit the ball hard,” Marte said through an interpreter. “If the ball goes out of the field, good for me. If it doesn't, I'll try to take an extra base. I feel really good that I'm showing what I can do overall.”
Locke on a roll
Jeff Locke lost his first outing of the season April 7 at the Los Angeles Dodgers but has not dropped a decision in 15 starts since. The only other Pirates pitcher to make 15 straight starts in a season without losing is Dock Ellis, who did it in 1971.
Polanco, Herrera to Futures Game
Outfielder Gregory Polanco and infielder Dilson Herrera will represent the Pirates on the World Team in the All-Star Futures Game at 2 p.m. July 14 at Citi Field in New York. Polanco has hit a combined .312 with seven homers, 36 RBI and 27 stolen bases for High-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona. Herrera is batting .281 with seven homers, 35 RBI and nine steals with Low-A West Virginia.
Altoona pitchers Jameson Taillon and Casey Sadler and second baseman Jarek Cunningham were named to the Eastern League midseason all-star team. It's the first Double-A all-star appearance for all three. Taillon was named an all-star twice before at lower levels of the minors, and Cunningham was chosen once before. The EL all-star game will be played July 10.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates again approach Polanco about contract extension
- Reliever Holdzkom among three players cut by Pirates
- Reversing the field: Pirates continue to raid Yankees for hidden skill
- Steelers’ Tomlin, Pirates’ Hurdle share similar philosophy
- Pirates notebook: Locke the choice to be 5th starter
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 18, Phillies 4
- Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
- Pirates notebook: Locke makes bid for final rotation spot, Tabata cut
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
- Pirates notebook: Decker leaves game with calf injury
- Starting 9: As franchise values soar, do owners hold or sell?