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Hurdle happy to see club piece together better at-bats

PITTSBURGH -- Manager Clint Hurdle's emphasis on being selective seems to be paying off.

Throughout the lineup, the Pirates have pieced together more effective at-bats this month, which may be due to hitters watching themselves taking good swings. Hurdle said the team has put together three-minute tapes of a player swinging well in the box, but more importantly, swinging at good pitches.

In May, the Pirates collectively have a .353 on-base percentage entering Saturday's game against the Nationals. It's the best mark in the Majors this month, and a major improvement from the .296 on-base percentage the team had in the season's first month.

The change in amount of baserunners is not coming from walks, either, as the Pirates' walk figures in May are almost identical to April's. No, the disparity is coming with what players are doing when the bat leaves their shoulder.

The Bucs' .280 average this month is a drastic increase from the .221 clip they hit in 2014's first 26 games, and the squad's batting average on balls in play is .339 in May, up 80 points from last month.

"It all starts with what pitches you swing at," Hurdle said. "Because, those of us who have played, there were pitches I tried to hit that nobody could hit, but I continually tried to hit them. The thing we're always mindful of is, 'Did you get a good pitch to hit?' That sets everything up."

With better swings and better numbers come better results, too. The Pirates are 11-10 this month after a 10-16 start through the end of April.

Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for
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