PITTSBURGH -- Until late Tuesday night, Clint Hurdle thought that "Silence is golden" was simply a vague expression.
The Pirates' manager learned otherwise the instant Houston pinch-hitter Jason Castro ripped a game-tying double into PNC Park's right-field corner with two outs in the ninth inning.
As soon as he saw Castro's swing on a 3-2 pitch from Joel Hanrahan, Hurdle walked toward the lineup card posted on the dugout wall to plot his next moves, when he heard ... nothing.
"There's no bigger punch to the gut than when the closer doesn't close. Boom. You could've heard a pin drop," Hurdle recalled. "It was deathly still, which was a cool sound in and of itself, because it had been so electric when the pitch was out of his hand.
"From everyone standing up and 'Let's go Bucs!' and all heck breaking loose to ... nothing. And I'm thinking, 'This is pretty cool.'"
Hurdle's mind immediately flashed back to Oct. 10, 1980. The Bronx. Eighth inning. With the Yankees holding a 2-1 lead over Kansas City in Game 3 of the ALCS, George Brett ripped a three-run homer off Goose Gossage to send the Royals to the World Series, and 56,588 in Yankee Stadium clammed up.
"I never had been in a venue where there were that many people go quiet," Hurdle said.
Tuesday night, there were only 21,516 people in PNC Park, but the effect was the same. Not the result. Minutes later, Drew Sutton's walk-off homer gave Pirates fans their voices back.