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Pirates

Streaky Pirates try to establish their identity

| Friday, May 20, 2011

CINCINNATI — Andrew McCutchen can appreciate the Pirates' ability to stop a six-game losing streak, as they did this week with two definitive wins against the Cincinnati Reds, the top team in the National League Central.

McCutchen remembers what it was like in 2010 when the Pirates had a losing streaks of 5, 6, 7 and 12 games — and that was just in the first three months of the season.

"We don't want it to get out of hand. That's what messed us up last year," said McCutchen, who is 8 for 22 in his past five games. "We'd win a couple games here and there, but then we'd lose six or seven in a row and it would start to get away from us. We just have to be consistent and have a quick makeup as far as winning and losing games."

The question is whether these Pirates can prove that the recent six-game skid was an aberration.

A win today in the interleague opener against the Detroit Tigers would equal a season-high with three consecutive wins, reached a week and a half ago when the Pirates moved one game above .500.

Manager Clint Hurdle labeled the Pirates' series-opening game against the Reds as "put-your-foot-down-Wednesday," and pitcher Charlie Morton helped snapped the string with a shutout. Before Thursday's game, second baseman Neil Walker said the Pirates could make it "put-your-foot-down-Thursday," too.

"We're still trying to find our identity as a team, but it's really coming together," Walker said. "We have a great group here, so it's fun to be around. How you go about your trials and tribulations, how you go about the losing part, as a team, really shows what kind of character you have.

"We've been really resilient as a ball club this year so far. We have a lot of guys learning on an everyday basis and learning to be consistent. But we certainly don't have guys rolling over and dying when things go bad."

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