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Worth noting

• Wandy Rodriguez, who until his late July trade had pitched two-and-a-half seasons for Houston manager Brad Mills, said of his dismissal, "I felt very comfortable with him. But that's a tough situation in Houston."

• Rookie right-hander Jared Hughes made his return appearance Saturday with men on second and third and two outs in the fifth -- and dropped the hammer on that inning by striking out Shane Robinson. Hughes has stranded 24 of 25 inherited runners, the best percentage (96) in the Majors.

• Had the Pirates, whose ninth-inning rally fell short in Saturday's 5-4 loss, prolonged the game, Clint Hurdle was prepared to use Neil Walker in a pinch-hitting capacity. But the switch-hitting Walker, in the early stages of recovering from a dislocated right little finger that makes it more painful to swing from the left side, would've batted right-handed against St. Louis closer Jason Motte.

Last Word
"Maybe they should take a brown bag up to the plate in their back pocket, and step out and blow into it."
-Hurdle, suggesting a way to help batters relax in stressful two-out situations with men in scoring position.

• Wandy Rodriguez, who until his late July trade had pitched two-and-a-half seasons for Houston manager Brad Mills, said of his dismissal, "I felt very comfortable with him. But that's a tough situation in Houston."

• Rookie right-hander Jared Hughes made his return appearance Saturday with men on second and third and two outs in the fifth -- and dropped the hammer on that inning by striking out Shane Robinson. Hughes has stranded 24 of 25 inherited runners, the best percentage (96) in the Majors.

• Had the Pirates, whose ninth-inning rally fell short in Saturday's 5-4 loss, prolonged the game, Clint Hurdle was prepared to use Neil Walker in a pinch-hitting capacity. But the switch-hitting Walker, in the early stages of recovering from a dislocated right little finger that makes it more painful to swing from the left side, would've batted right-handed against St. Louis closer Jason Motte.

Last Word
"Maybe they should take a brown bag up to the plate in their back pocket, and step out and blow into it."
-Hurdle, suggesting a way to help batters relax in stressful two-out situations with men in scoring position.