Smart, aggressive at-bats resulting in success

Smart, aggressive at-bats resulting in success

ST. LOUIS -- It's not necessarily about being more patient at the plate. Just smarter.

On Friday, the Pirates bounced St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright from the game after five innings and 100 pitches. They also tagged the Cardinals' struggling bullpen for seven runs in four innings, including Pedro Alvarez's bases-loaded walk in the eighth against Sam Freeman.

As Bucs center fielder Andrew McCutchen noted, he and his teammates weren't trying to work counts. They were instead just looking for the best pitch to hit, and ultimately collected a season-high 19 hits.

"Know the situation, know who you're facing and know what they're trying to do to get you out," McCutchen said. "It's just about knowing a lot of things and being smart at the plate, other than being patient, and at the same time, being aggressive."

Manager Clint Hurdle, however, was happy to see his club getting deep into counts and thinks that disciplined approach will be important as Pittsburgh can continue to attack St. Louis' relievers the rest of the weekend.

"The one thing we want to do this series is continue to make people work," Hurdle said on Saturday. "The hard side of that is when you take strike one and they pound strike zone, you better be swinging the bat. But we believe that will be one of the keys to success for us this series. If we can spike the starters' pitch count, then we can get to the bullpen."