CLEVELAND — Most teams have yet to decide whether they are buyers or sellers, which has retarded the trade market this year. “We’ve been engaged with other clubs for the last six weeks, but there’s no traction anywhere,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “The extra wild card has added time for everybody. With each passing week, we’re getting closer to the spot where teams evaluate their own rosters and decide, is it sooner or is it later? It’s challenging and it always will be. The hard part is, we’re not the only club looking for specific things. There are a lot of teams in the same situations.” Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington plan to huddle sometime in the next few days to reassess the Pirates’ needs and target certain players that might be available.
»»» Trivia: A.J. Burnett is the first Pirates pitcher to win seven straight starts since Doug Drabek in 1990. Who’s the last Pirate to win eight in a row?
»»» Pedro Alvarez has 10 home runs, which ranks third among NL third basemen behind David Freese (13) and Hanley Ramirez (11).
»»» The Pirates will bus back to Pittsburgh after today’s game.
»»» Hurdle wants the Pirates to be known as a running club. “We’re not there yet, but we’re gonna get there if it kills me,” he said. “It’s an important part of our identity moving forward that we are a team that will move on the bases. It helps the mentality and puts more pressure on the defense. Guys know they’ve got to catch it and get it in the air. There’s no time for bobbles, misses or clanks. I want one of the first things on the scouting report to be, ‘These guys are going to move on the bases. We’ve got to be sharp and handle the ball.’ ” The Pirates have stolen 12 bases in the past eight games and 17 this month, which is second behind the Dodgers (18). “I played on two clubs that were get up and go,” said Hurdle, referring to the Royals and Cardinals under Whitey Herzog. “I was one of the slower guys on the team, but I still was encouraged to run, take the extra base, hustle doubles. We had guys who ran, who weren’t runners. Then they’d go someplace else and wouldn’t steal at all.”
»»» RHP Brad Lincoln will have at least one more spot start after today before Jeff Karstens is ready to come off the DL. Hurdle said he doesn’t want Lincoln to try to pace himself, as he did in his past couple starts, trying to get deeper into the game. “Brad needs to pitch well. That’s the focus,” Hurdle said. “The last two starts, we haven’t seen the guy we saw earlier in the season. He’s been encouraged to go out there today and give us everything he’s got for as long as he’s got. There’s no pace. We’ve got a day off tomorrow and a full bullpen. Get after it. As hard as you can for as long as you can. Nobody wants to be the weakest link, so he’s thinking, ‘I don’t want to gas it out, pitch three innings and then you’ve got to go to the bullpen for six. I understand that. But we talked to him in Baltimore and told him, ‘We’re best served by you just getting after it. Let’s reignite that fastball we saw for the first seven weeks of the season, the movement on the fastball, the depth and tilt to the slider.’ ”
»»» Trivia answer: Dock Ellis won eight straight starts in 1974.
Game 64: Pirates @ Indians, 1:05 p.m. ET
Pirates (33-31): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Neil Walker 2b , 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Garrett Jones rf, 5. Casey McGehee 1b, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Matt Hague dh, 8. Clint Barmes ss, 9. Michael McKenry c. RHP: Brad Lincoln (3-2, 3.15)
Indians (33-31): 1. Shin-Soo Choo rf, 2. Asdrubal Cabrera ss, 3. Jason Kipnis 2b, 4. Jose Lopez dh, 5. Michael Brantley cf, 6. Jack Hannahan 3b, 7. Johnny Damon lf, 8. Casey Kotchman 1b, 9. Lou Marson c. RHP: Jeanmar Gomez (4-5, 4.71)