PITTSBURGH -- After seeing their club post a combined one run on seven hits in back-to-back losses to Chicago, Pirates fans were left asking, "Where has all the offense gone?" After all, these are the same Bucs whose 146 runs in June led baseball. And until a few days ago, they were on pace to pull off the same feat in July. Not to worry, said manager Clint Hurdle, who was impressed by the two starting pitching performances he saw from the Cubs in this series. On Monday, Jeff Samardzija gave up one hit over eight innings, and the next day, former Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm held the Bucs to one run on five hits.
"No. 1, I tip my hat to Samardzija," Hurdle said before Wednesday's finale. "We could face that guy tomorrow, and if he throws like that, we're not going to hit him. Not many teams are. "Yesterday, we had pitches to hit -- we missed them. But, that's another part of the game." Hurdle, the eternal optimist, said he doesn't focus on the bad in this game, opting to reinforce the positives instead. He isn't worried about the last two games, or their potential to knock his club out of the offensive rhythm it has been in over the last two months. "We didn't hit. But to make any more of it than that?" Hurdle said. "We deal with the reality of the situation, and then we move forward."