Game 47: Time to move Cutch down in order?


Story by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Getty Images

CutchSadBravesATLANTA — Good … morning? afternoon? evening? I’ve lost track. It’s all been a blur since last night’s rain delay. Anyway, let’s get back at it.

>>> I would not be shocked if Andrew McCutchen is moved down in the batting order as soon as today. McCutchen went 0 for 5 last night — and twice hit into double plays with runners in scoring position — which dropped his batting average to .200.

Manager Clint Hurdle after the game refused to say what he thinks might be ailing McCutchen at the plate. Hurdle, who was ejected in the first inning (the second game in a row he got an early exit), saw McCutchen’s ABs on TV instead of from his usual dugout view. “I’ve got to watch from a different angle the last couple of nights, so I might have some new thoughts to bring to the table (on Wednesday),” Hurdle said.

In the first inning, Adam Frazier fell behind 0-2, but worked a leadoff walk. After fouling off a bunt attempt, Josh Harrison lined a single into center field. Up came McCutchen, who went into the game batting .229 with runners in scoring position. Two on and none out. A chance for to set the tone early. McCutchen grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Josh Bell, who batted cleanup for the fifth time in six games, salvaged something in the inning by blooping an RBI double into left field.

The Pirates had a chance to blow it open in the fourth. With one out, Tyler Glasnow singled. Frazier walked. Harrison singled to load the bases. McCutchen fell behind 1-2, then hit a bouncer to third base for an inning-ending double play.

>>> UPDATE 5 p.m. – After discussing early this morning with Hurdle, McCutchen has been benched for today’s game. Hurdle did not indicate whether this will last more than one game. “We’re taking it day by day,” Hurdle said.

McCutchen said he will use today to put in extra workon some mechanical problems. He said the reason for his slump is not mental — he’s not over-thinking things at the plate.

“The thing is, I don’t think when I hit, ” McCutchen said. “Honestly, what can you think about when the ball is coming in there, it’s getting to you in four-tenths of a second? You really can’t think about too much. When I hit, I don’t think. That’s what makes me the hitter I know I can be. When I’m hitting, people ask what I’m thinking about. I don’t know. I just go up there and try and hit the ball. That hasn’t changed at all. I do my thinking in the cage. I do my thinking when I’m sitting there and working with my hitting coaches and working on certain things. When the game starts, I go and play. It’s just about it translating from the cage to the field. Right now, it’s some work I’ve got to do. once that translates on the field, I know I’ll be good. Want it to work now, but I know sometimes that doesn’t happen. At least I know what I’m doing. It’s just about fixing it, and it’s about it sticking and being able to stay in that position.”

>>> UPDATE 6:40 p.m. – Gregory Polanco (hamstring) ran the bases at full-speed without incident, according to head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk. Polanco seems set come off the DL when he’s eligible tomorrow instead of going on a minor league rehab stint. … Also, Antonio Bastardo (quad) is set to throw one inning tomorrow in extended spring training. Bastardo likely will go to a minor league affiliate within the next couple of days. … Jameson Taillon (testicular cancer) will throw another bullpen tomorrow morning.

>>> A two-out single by Alen Hanson in the seventh inning last night snapped a streak of 15.1 hitless innings by the Braves’ bullpen. The run spanned 51 at-bats and 56 batters. All those measures are franchise records.

>>> During the third inning last night, warning buzzers went off and a message flashed on all the videoboards telling fans they needed to evacuate SunTrust Park. A few fans left their seats, but the warnings were quickly disabled and the game went on as normal. A tweet sent by SunTrust Park’s account said a “malfunction” was to blame for the disturbance. According to The Associated Press, a pan fire in the Chop House restaurant in right field triggered the alarms.

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Braves 6, Pirates 5: A long, wet night ends with 13 runners stranded on base and a gut-punch defeat

Notebook: In which Taillon pines for normalcy, Polanco says he’s ready, and Freese chirps

>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Braves, 7:35 p.m. SunTrust Park, Atlanta. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Pirates: Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Josh Bell 3, David Freese 5, John Jaso 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Danny Ortiz 8, Chris Stewart 2,  RHP Trevor Williams (2-3, 6.04) 1

Braves: Ender Inciarte 8, Brandon Phillips 4, Nick Markakis 9, MKatt Kemp 7, Matt Adams 3, Tyler Flower 2, Rio Ruiz 5, Jace Peterson 6, RHP Julio Teheran (3-4, 5.47) 1

Gamecast: Williams has faced the Braves just once before. On April 9, he retired six of the seven batters he faced and recorded four strikeouts over two scoreless innings of relief at PNC Park. … Pirates UTIL Adam Frazier reached base safely in three of five plate appearances on Monday. Since being reinstated from the 10-day disabled list on May 12, Frazier’s 17 hits ties him for the most in the National League with Charlie Blackmon, Ender Inciarte and D.J. LeMahieu.

>>> Thursday: Pirates at Braves, 12:10 p.m. SunTrust Park, Atlanta. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (4-3, 2.63) Braves: RHP Bartolo Colón (2-4, 6.28)

>>> Friday: Mets at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74) Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-4, 5.85)

>>> Saturday: Mets at Pirates, 7:15 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Fox. Radio: 93.7 FM

Mets: TBA Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (2-5, 3.36) Note: LHP Tommy Milone (1-2, 7.91) was slated to start, but today was placed on the DL.

>>> Sunday: Mets at Pirates, 8 p.m., PNC Park. TV: ESPN. Radio: 93.7 FM

Mets: RHP Matt Harvey (3-3, 5.36) Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-3, 6.69)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.


Braves steal win from Pirates in red-eye marathon


By Rob Biertempfel

ATLANTA — Once the Pirates and Atlanta Braves finally started playing again early Wednesday morning, it was like neither team wanted to stop.

After waiting out a 3 1/2-hour rain delay, the Pirates needed just nine outs to win. Instead, the lead changed hands three times over the final three innings before the Braves pulled out a 6-5 victory.

Matt Adams lined a walkoff single off Tony Watson at 1:52 a.m. — more than six hours after the first pitch of the game.

“We’ve had some wild finishes here,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “The game ended up all over the place.”

It’s not the first marathon in Atlanta for either Hurdle or the Pirates.

“I’ve actually played in a longer game here,” Hurdle said. “It finished at 3:45 a.m. and they shot off fireworks at 4 o’clock on July 4, 1985. (The Pirates) played an 18-inning game here a few years ago.”

Still, this one must have seemed especially long to Hurdle, who was ejected for the second night in a row. He was booted in the top of the first inning for arguing with home plate umpire Nic Lentz.

The rain delay of 3 hours, 12 minutes was the longest for the Pirates in a road game since Sept. 17, 2012, when they waited out a storm for 3:37 at Wrigley Field.

“The whole night just stinks,” shortstop Jordy Mercer said. “Sitting around for that long, playing into the night … well, the next morning. It stinks.”

The Pirates led, 3-2, when the rain hit. When play resumed, the Braves scored two runs in the seventh inning.

Closer Jim Johnson couldn’t nail it down. With two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth, Mercer hit a two-run single to make it 5-4.

Nick Markakis’ RBI double off Watson tied it at 5. Markakis scored the game-winner on Adams’ two-out single to left.

The Braves’ rally cost Tyler Glasnow a win. The right-hander worked six innings and gave up two runs on nine hits, walked two and struck out four.

“Another step forward,” Hurdle said.

Glasnow was even better at the plate. Against Braves knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, Glasnow went 3 for 3 — doubling his career hits total over the course of six innings.

Even Glasnow seemed in disbelief each time he reached base.

“I think it was just maybe what the hits were,” Glasnow said. “It was probably a little bit of luck on my side.”

In the first inning, Glasnow legged out an infield single on a weak grounder to short. In the third, he looped a single to shallow left. In the sixth, more hustle down the line produced another infield hit

“I think it’s because I hit the ball so soft,” Glasnow said, explaining the infield singles. “I had some time and I have decent speed. I like running, so I do it and I’m safe.”

It was the most hits in a game by a Pirates pitcher since Doug Drabek went 3 for 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 27, 1991.

Glasnow didn’t get a fourth at-bat, as the rain delay before the top of the seventh knocked him out of the game.

The Pirates built a 2-0 lead against Dickey on Josh Bell’s RBI double in the first inning and John Jaso’s run-scoring single in the third.

Mercer, who bruised his right thumb on Monday, led off the sixth with a fly ball to right field. Mercer didn’t get all of it, but he got enough — the ball cleared the top of the fence by a foot or so.

It was the first time in his career that Mercer cleared the wall for an opposite-field home run.

The Braves pulled within 3-2 via single runs in the fourth and sixth.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.