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Hurdle goes to lengths to sympathize with Marte

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PITTSBURGH -- Clint Hurdle has a reputation as a player's manager, and he again proved willing to do anything to help one of his guys by claiming a dishonor he never suffered.

Starling Marte, whose 10-game hitting streak came to a harsh end Thursday night when he struck out on each of his five at-bats, was given Friday night off. To ease Marte's funk, Hurdle told him that he could relate.

"He's in select company now. Anyone who's ever struck out five times, raise your hand," Hurdle said, his right arm up in the air. "I'm there with him. That's the perspective I shared with him."

Except, Hurdle never struck out five times in one game. A good contact hitter throughout his playing career, Hurdle did have one four-strikeout game among the 515 he played -- on Sept. 24, 1978 against Twins right-hander Dave Goltz. But five? Never.

The misremembering did not lessen Hurdle's sympathy for the bad night by the left fielder who has been the lineup's biggest constant. Hurdle reminded Marte of that, too.

"Back away. Nice streak. You had a rough night, this is the Major Leagues," said Hurdle, relating the rest of his message to Marte. "We'll give him a [night], and get him back in there [Saturday]. I thought that was the best, most effective way to deal with it."

Jose Tabata led off and played left field in Friday night's game against Braves starter Tim Hudson, a right-hander. Lefty Paul Maholm, the former Pirates southpaw, is scheduled to start for Atlanta on Saturday night.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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