PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have had four save opportunities since the departure of Octavio Dotel on July 31. However, Tuesday's was the first in which Evan Meek got the chance at one.
Bucs manager John Russell has adamantly refrained from naming Joel Hanrahan or Meek the team's primary closer, saying the situation would dictate which one would get the chance. Until Tuesday, though, it appeared as if the job was unofficially Hanrahan's since all the previous opportunities had gone to him.
Meek came through when given the chance. It wasn't without drama, but the right-hander was able to close out the game and collect his second career save in the Pirates' 4-3 win over St. Louis.
"I thought [Tuesday] was a tremendous outing for him," Russell said of Meek. "One pitch away from the game being tied or giving up the lead, he found a way to get out of it. You can't replace that kind of experience. I think the more you can get them in that situation, the better they'll be in the long run."
That experience is precisely why Russell would like to keep divvying up save opportunities between the two young right-handers.
"I'd like to develop the mentality with both of them," Russell said. "They've pitched some very meaningful innings all year, but that ninth inning is a little different. I'd like to be able to ingrain that in both of them."