DETROIT -- If Josh Harrison keeps this up, he's going to blow his cover as one of the lower-profile guys on the Pirates. On Wednesday, the versatile 5-foot-8 player clocked the very first home run given up all season by Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Two nights later, there was Harrison derailing Justin Verlander's motorcade into no-hit wonderland, with a no-doubter single with one out in the ninth.
And as Harrison rounded first on that single and looked back over his left shoulder into the Pirates' first-base dugout ... yes, everyone in there on their feet was applauding him. "No one wants to be part of a no-hitter, so it was nice to look in the dugout and see the guys cheering," Harrison said. "We all felt we were going to be the guy to get something going. So you look in the dugout and see relief." Harrison has been providing it all week, all over the field. Playing short, left, third or DH-ing, he has gone 6-for-15 while driving in four runs. "It's a blessing. I've been working hard, just trying to do anything I can while in there to help the team, give some positive energy," he said. "That's one thing everyone on this team has, a lot of positive energy." What they did not have for most of Friday night was a base hit. Coming closest in the sixth was Harrison, who hammered a drive caught near the center-field warning track by Don Kelly. "So I felt I saw the ball well the whole night," Harrison said. "But I tried not to get too amped up and be thinking, 'I want to be the one to break up the no-hitter.' Tried not to worry about that, although in the dugout we all knew what was at stake. "At the same time, we didn't want to give [Verlander] too much credit, because we still had to face him. Every inning, guys in the dugout would be going, 'C'mon, let's get somebody on base, make something happen.' "And before you know it, it was the ninth inning. He was working pretty good, working all his pitches." Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle was asked to explain Harrison's presence in the lineup as the DH, batting leadoff. "Harrison has sparked the club the last few games," Hurdle simply said. "He's swinging the bat very well." Friday night, he also swung it very meaningfully. Some of the Tigers afterwards lamented the no-hitter being ruined by a broken-bat single. Harrison's bat may have been slightly cracked, but not before it sent a pretty solid smash just to the left of the second-base bag. So it was more appropriately a broken-heart single.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.