A special season unfolding?


The Pirates went 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position last night, yet beat the Marlins by a comfortable four-run margin. It can be a funny game, huh? “That’s why you go play the game,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “That’s why paper, statistics, analysis … it all has it’s place, but you’ve still got to go out and play. There are so many things that happen in this game that we would not author. There are so many seasons that have transpired that people would not have written up that way before the season started. That’s one of the great things about sport.”

The four-run, zero-hit inning was among a handful of memorable and/or quirky moments for the Pirates this summer. Remember Matt Hague’s walkoff HBP? The deadly doubles by Michael McKenry and Clint Barmes off Aroldis Chapman? Josh Harrison breaking up Justin Verlander’s no-hit bid? Series wins in Milwaukee and Cincinnati in early June? “It very well can turn out to be something very special,” Hurdle said. “Any season that turns out to be magical, when it’s defined at the end, there are lightning bolts all through the season.”

Hurdle has kept a personal journal of every season in which he’s played, coached or managed. When he looks back at the standout moments, he’s noticed that they didn’t always happen in victories. “That’s one of the things we miss a lot,” Hurdle said. “We’re always looking for the win. There’s galvanizing moments in the dugout, it can be in a conversation in the clubhouse, it can be in a mound meeting or a bullpen session.

“This is a good time for Pirates baseball,” Hurdle continued. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a good time. And I can only identify with it (a tiny bit). But you hear it at the end of every season in every sport. When the people are jumping around, you hear, ‘It took all of us.’ As you look around at those things that have happened this year, the people who have come into play, it does take everybody. It takes circumstances that are uncommon from time to time.”

»»» Brad Lincoln tossed the final 1 1/3 innings and notched his first professional save. “I wasn’t even aware it was a save situation,” Lincoln said. “I just wanted to get outs and end it.” Lincoln is among six Pirates who’ve claimed at least one save this season, proving the depth of the bullpen.

Game 94: Marlins @ Pirates, 1:35 p.m. ET

Marlins (44-50): 1. Jose Reyes ss, 2. Emilio Bonifacio cf, 3. Carlos Lee 1b, 4. Logan Morrison lf, 5. Justin Ruggiano rf, 6. Greg Dobbs 3b, 7. Omar Infante 2b, 8. Brett Hayes c, 9. Anibal Sanchez rhp (5-6, 3.95)

Pirates (53-40): 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. Michael McKenry c, 8. Jordy Mercer ss, 9. Jeff Karstens rhp (2-2, 4.15)