PITTSBURGH -- One day after a much-debated decision to have Andrew McCutchen try to tag and score from third with two outs and the Pirates down by three in the ninth, third-base coach Nick Leyva explained his decision to send the runner.
"I thought he could make it," Leyva said. "I'm preaching as a third-base coach for them to be aggressive with me, so I'm going to be aggressive with them."
Leyva clarified that he told McCutchen to take off for home as Jayson Werth made the catch in medium-depth right field. The Pirates have preached aggressiveness since Day 1 of Spring Training, which is why Leyva and manager Clint Hurdle believed it was the right gamble to take, even though the club was down by three runs. McCutchen ended up being thrown out on a bang-bang play to end the game.
"It's very easy to say that wasn't the right situation, but I thought he could make it," Leyva said. "It's a judgment call. They don't give you a do-over. He's probably the fastest guy on the team. I thought the ball carried far enough. I know Werth's got as good an arm as anybody. I know [center fielder Rick] Ankiel has as good an arm as anybody.
"If I didn't think he could make it, I wouldn't have sent him."
As he did after Sunday's game, Hurdle defended the decision to run.
"It's about doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason," Hurdle said. "And I do believe all of those were in place. We got the wrong outcome. I trust my third-base coach implicitly. I expected him to go. I would have been more shocked if he wouldn't have gone."