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Pirates trying to find creative ways to use Hanrahan

MILWAUKEE -- What to do with a league-leading closer who doesn't get to close?

"That's been one of the biggest challenges, at the top of our list," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle had to admit the morning after Joel Hanrahan had entered a tie game in the bottom of the ninth and had it untied on Corey Hart's walk-off homer for a 3-2 Milwaukee win.

Hanrahan continues to lead the National League with 34 saves -- one ahead of Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman -- and has converted 13 straight opportunities. But Hanrahan has had only one save opportunity in 3 1/2 weeks, since Aug. 8.

"Joel has a closer mentality," Hurdle said, "but he also understands he needs to pitch. We've had to try some different out-of-the-box things with him, looking for different opportunities.

"There have been a couple of games where there wasn't a save, but we got a lead and we needed to put the game away. Every game from this point on is a big game, so we've got to keep our eyes open and try to make sure we do everything we can to keep our best pitcher in the bullpen involved in the action."

MILWAUKEE -- What to do with a league-leading closer who doesn't get to close?

"That's been one of the biggest challenges, at the top of our list," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle had to admit the morning after Joel Hanrahan had entered a tie game in the bottom of the ninth and had it untied on Corey Hart's walk-off homer for a 3-2 Milwaukee win.

Hanrahan continues to lead the National League with 34 saves -- one ahead of Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman -- and has converted 13 straight opportunities. But Hanrahan has had only one save opportunity in 3 1/2 weeks, since Aug. 8.

"Joel has a closer mentality," Hurdle said, "but he also understands he needs to pitch. We've had to try some different out-of-the-box things with him, looking for different opportunities.

"There have been a couple of games where there wasn't a save, but we got a lead and we needed to put the game away. Every game from this point on is a big game, so we've got to keep our eyes open and try to make sure we do everything we can to keep our best pitcher in the bullpen involved in the action."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.