PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have won 14 one-run games. They also have lost 11 one-run games. Hence, more than half of their games through Saturday had been decided by one run.
Which will explain why no one was smiling over a baserunning gaffe by Starling Marte in the fifth-inning of Saturday night's game -- even after Marte had made good with the seventh-inning double that keyed the Bucs' two-run rally for a 3-2 win over Washington.
The one-run trend "speaks to what kind of team we are and what kind of games we're going to play," manager Clint Hurdle said.
"We can't take a pitch off. Marte took a pitch off last night," Hurdle added. "It won't happen again."
Marte had taken a power nap in the bottom of the fifth and, since he was running from first base at the time with none out and the Pirates trailing Stephen Strasburg, 2-1, this was not a good idea.
Marte, who had led off with a single, took off as Clint Barmes looked at a ball and slowed to a walk into second as shortstop Ian Desmond received catcher Wilson Ramos' throw. Problem: Barmes had a count of only 2-2, not 3-2 as Marte clearly thought.
So Marte walked into the tag, helping waste an opportunity against a tough pitcher.
"That's gonna have to be a reminder for the whole club," said Hurdle, perhaps grateful that the valuable lesson did not come with the price of a tough loss.
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.