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Hurdle: Main objective in doubleheader is Game 1

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Hurdle: Main objective in doubleheader is Game 1

NEW YORK -- As a child, manager Clint Hurdle thought a doubleheader was one of the coolest aspects of baseball. Before Sunday's doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, Hurdle reminisced about how he would watch back-to-back games as a batboy during the weekend afternoons in the Florida State League.

Hurdle's Pirates will try to perform better than they did in a twin bill earlier this month, when the Orioles swept them on May 1. The manager said one of the issues playing a doubleheader is trying to not overwork the bullpen. Hurdle is hopeful that starters Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole can pitch into the late innings in both games.

Hurdle said his main objective Sunday was to win the first game before worrying about the second.

"The only difficulty is it's usually harder to win two games in one day than it is to win a game today and a game tomorrow," Hurdle said before Saturday's 7-1 loss. "I think they can be engaging. I do think there's times when it can help your ballclub, because you can get reps for guys who might not get them."

The Pirates' lineup is expected to change in the second game when they face Yankees starter Vidal Nuno, a left-hander.

Hurdle said he does not approach a doubleheader much differently than any other game during the season. One of the few issues is making the decision as to whether a reliever can pitch in both games and still be effective. Hurdle said he would rest a reliever in Game 2 if he threw 20 or more pitches in the first game.

"There's not much new that comes at you," Hurdle said Sunday. "I try not to over-strategize too much. There might not be guys you can go back-to-back in both games. ... The most important game is the one we're playing first."

Nate Taylor is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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