Persistent Pirates benefit from unexpected mishap

Persistent Pirates benefit from unexpected mishap

PITTSBURGH -- Given a chance to reflect on Friday night's victory on a walk-off popup, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was pretty sure of two things:

(a) It was the type of game his 2011 and '12 Bucs would not have found a way to win and (b) tape of the finish makes a pretty good instructional video for players and staff in the team's Minor League system.

Not in the sense of a "How Not To Play Baseball" reel. But a "This Stuff Can Happen Anywhere" reel.

"You can take this tape, take it down to West Virginia, and if you're pulling your hair out because they're not playing the game right, not fundamentally executing, show 'em a big league game," Hurdle said. "Let everyone go, 'Wow. It can happen.'"

The Pirates did little to help themselves at the conclusive end of that decisive ninth inning. Singles by Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen set things in motion, but then they were helped by an error by Houston pitcher Edgar Gonzalez before Russell Martin's pop was steamrolled out of second baseman Jake Elmore's glove by right fielder Jimmy Paredes.

The persistence required to be in a situation to profit from the meltdown is what Hurdle thinks may have been lacking each of the last two seasons.

"I'm not sure that's a game we win either of the last two seasons. The way it unfolded," Hurdle said, describing the scene on the bench, "guys looked at each other, going, 'We didn't have that [before].'"

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. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.