PITTSBURGH -- It was almost as though Clint Hurdle could sense the question coming. The Pirates reached .500 for the first time (excluding the season's opening weekend) on Memorial Day, one of those sacrosanct "yardstick" days on the baseball calendar. How convenient. What does it all mean, Mr. Hurdle? "I like the direction we're headed," Hurdle said after his third-place club had inched within three games of the National League Central-leading Reds with Monday's 4-1 win. "But, sometimes, the yardstick isn't what you think it is.
"I've been with a team that was nowhere near the lead on Memorial Day and played in the World Series. So some measuring sticks don't work." Hurdle was referring to his 2007 Rockies, who on Memorial Day reposed in the NL West basement. That team made a legendary September charge into the postseason, where it remained undefeated until the Fall Classic. "Yeah, we've still got more than two-thirds of the season to go," second baseman Neil Walker agreed. "But it's definitely nice to see us string some two-out hits. And the pitching keeps showing up."