Pirates blow lead, lose series to league-worst Marlins
Clint Hurdle had only one wish Thursday night after the Pittsburgh Pirates lost for the 79th time this season while rookie outfielder Bryan Reynolds continued to amaze and delight his manager.
“You’re getting to watch a really special young player develop and grow and do some significant things in the game of baseball, the highest level,” Hurdle said after the Pirates’ 10-7 loss to the Miami Marlins in front of an announced crowd of 9,642 at PNC Park.
“I hope people don’t lose sight of that, based on what else is going on with the team.”
Reynolds hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the first and ninth innings, becoming only the third Pirates player in history to accomplish that feat. He followed Bobby Bonilla, who did it twice, and Dale Sveum. “Cool accomplishment,” said Reynolds, who has 16 home runs and 65 RBIs after starting the season in Triple-A. “I wish we would have won the game.”
Meanwhile, he raised his batting average to .333, five points behind National League leader Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals.
Reynolds, who has seven hits in his past 19 at-bats, moved from leftfield to centerfield the past two nights while Hurdle gave Starling Marte some time to recharge. Wednesday, he made two diving catches.
“This guy’s focused to keep showing up in the box,” Hurdle said, “playing centerfield, making plays, making good decisions with the ball.”
Hurdle described what Reynolds did, using the name Mickey Mantle, one of the great switch-hitters of all-time, as a verb.
“Always in the dugout, when a switch-hitter hits one, (we say), `OK. Let’s see if you can Mickey Mantle it.’ And sure enough.
“He’s been on a fantastic roll as of late. You talk about playing the extra mile. Well, he’s in it.”
Typically, Reynolds hits for more power and for a better average from the left side. Yet, his home run from the right left his bat at 112.1 mph, the hardest hit ball of the night, according to baseballsavant.com.
“He clips that ball like that and it’s out in a heartbeat and two blinks of an eye,” Hurdle said. “The ball he hits left-handed he mauls to centerfield (at 103.5 mph).”
The Pirates hit well enough, sending 10 men to the plate while scoring five runs in the first inning and led, 5-2, after four innings.
But they committed two errors and gave the Marlins (50-89), the National League’s worst team, two unearned runs. Plus, Josh Bell was thrown out at home plate, or the first inning could have been even more productive. The Pirates lost two of three games to the Marlins, who ended a franchise-record 15-game road losing streak Tuesday night at PNC Park.
“You have to meet the demands of the game,” Hurdle said. “When you don’t meet the demands of the game, you put yourself in a position to lose ballgames. “Giving anybody extra outs doesn’t help and we’ve done more than our fair share of it.”
Pitching continued to be a problem. The Pirates, who had won nine of their previous 12 games, surrendered 10 or more runs for the 25th time (nearly 18 percent of the season).
Starting pitcher Dario Agrazal, whose parents were in the stands while visiting from Panama, was pulled in the fifth inning after allowing six runs (five earned), nine hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings.
“Below average stuff from him,” Hurdle said. “Not what we’ve seen.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .