Andrew McCutchen became just the eighth player in team history and the first since Nate McLouth in 2008 to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season when he blasted a shot to right field on a 1-1 pitch in the ninth inning tonight.
“It’s good to be able to have that, it’s definitely a stepping stone for me,” McCutchen said. “Still got a lot of ball to play so I’m still going to continue to go out there and play hard and try to finish up strong.”
Said Hurdle of the 20/20: “It’s a special feat; it’s been a special feat in any era. It speaks to his skill set, a young player in his second full season. It’s an accomplishment, but to put up numbers you have to play every day and that’s something (McCutchen) does for us, he shows up every day and doesn’t give up anything when he’s out there, either in the outfield running down balls or in at-bats. He’s got great focus and great determination.”
= When Chris Leroux took the mound in relief of Charlie Morton tonight, he’d allowed just one hit in 23 at-bats in his last three appearances (seven innings). “The ball was elevated tonight the four batters he faced and he’s been dirty, he’s been as effective as you can want a guy coming in,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We went with the hot hand. Charlie battled, we gave him the opportunity to try to get out of the inning and Leroux wasn’t able to make pitches.”
= The Astros have won four of their last six against the Pirates. The seven hits by the Astros in the sixth inning was a season-high, and the six runs tied the season-high for a single inning for the third time. Carlos Lee extended his hitting streak to a season-long 10 games.
= Morton’s home run to rookie Jose Altuve – the second of his career – snapped a string of 338 at-bats without giving up a home run to a right-hander. The last righty to homer off Morton before tonight was Matt Holliay on Sept. 27, 2010.
= Evan Meek blew the save for Triple-A Indianapolis tonight, giving up one run on three hits in one inning.
= More in September call-ups….Hurdle said they will reach outside of the clubhouse and bring up a pitcher for Friday’s start and he’d like to bring at least another player or two. The others may wait, either because they have to (Pedro Ciriaco, for example, won’t be available until a certain date because of when he was last sent down) or because the Triple-A club is still making a run at the wild card. “I’ve been the Triple-A team and the Triple-A manager and you’re trying to make a run and the big league team is maybe not in the fire and if they grab players, you’re trying to do something, so you want to send the right message and try to be respectful of everything that’s involved,” Hurdle said.
= Hurdle also said he’d like to bring up about five pitchers, including at least one or two who can start. He also doesn’t want to bring anyone up who he’s not planning on using. “You can have too many,” Hurdle said. “I’ve been in situations where they want to bring them up for the environment. Bring them up and put them in street clothes for the environment, that’s been my thought.”