Hot Harrison earns spot in Monday's lineup

Hot Harrison earns spot in Monday's lineup

PITTSBURGH -- Josh Harrison, who had two hits and made a nifty defensive play in Sunday's 6-2 victory in Cincinnati, was back in the starting lineup and Pedro Alvarez was back on the bench for Monday night's homestand opener.

It was all about Harrison's hot bat -- he went 7-for-16 in the just-concluded road trip and was hitting .407 (11-for-27) across a longer stretch -- and left-handed rookie Wade Miley starting for the D-backs.

"I'm trying to match up the way I feel is best for the team we're playing and the pitcher on the mound," said manager Clint Hurdle, who also is conscious of the club being in the early stages of 20 consecutive playing days. "I'll be getting everybody involved."

However, it may have also had a little to do with what has become a dynamic duo at the top of the batting order: Harrison was again in the two-hole, ahead of Andrew McCutchen, and the Pirates had played .667 ball the first 15 times Hurdle had gone with that alignment.

In their games as the speedy two-three combo, Harrison had scored 12 runs and McCutchen had driven in 15 while hitting .407 behind Harrison.

Harrison's ability to make contact plays well in front of McCutchen. Harrison recently compiled the Majors' longest streak of the season without striking out, 19 consecutive games through July 30, until the Cubs' Alberto Cabrera rang him up on Aug. 1.