SAN DIEGO -- Andrew McCutchen accounted for nearly all of the Pirates' offensive production in Friday night's 3-2 lossto the Padres. He had two of their three hits, drove in both of their runs and drew their only walk.McCutchen also continued his climb up a pair of franchise leaderboards. His
SAN DIEGO -- Andrew McCutchen accounted for nearly all of the Pirates' offensive production in Friday night's 3-2 lossto the Padres. He had two of their three hits, drove in both of their runs and drew their only walk.
McCutchen also continued his climb up a pair of franchise leaderboards. His third-inning homer gave him 700 career RBIs, making him the 13th player in Pirates history to reach that mark. (Nine of the 12 players ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame.) His ninth-inning single was the 1,409th hit of his career, tying him with Jason Kendall for 16th on Pittsburgh's all-time hits list.
Behind those numbers were a pair of swings that, to manager Clint Hurdle, provided a snapshot of McCutchen at his best.
In the third, McCutchen pulled left-hander Travis Wood's inside, 85.4 mph cutter a Statcast-projected 405 feet into the left-field seats. In the ninth, facing lefty closer Brad Hand, McCutchen lined a down-and-away fastball to right field. When McCutchen is on top of his game, as he has been since late May, he's able to hit to all fields as he did Friday night.
"There's been times where Andrew's gotten one-sided [toward the pull side] with his swing, which is a challenge a lot of hitters have faced this year," Hurdle said Saturday. "He's opened that up as good as I've seen him open it up as far as hitting balls to left-center field, right-center field.
"Last night was a perfect example. You drive a ball 405 feet to left field then blister a single [to right field] off one of the better late-inning relievers in the game."
Despite a nearly two-month slump, McCutchen entered Saturday on pace for 99 RBIs this season, which would be a career-high. He drove in 96 runs in 2012 and again in '15.
Two years ago, McCutchen set out to improve his performance with runners in scoring position and delivered the best season of his career from that standpoint, slashing .361/.494/.656 in those situations. He's approaching that level of success this year, the main reason for his improved run production, as he entered Saturday with a .358/.444/.543 slash line with runners in scoring position.
Progress for Polanco
Gregory Polanco, sidelined a week with a strained left hamstring, has increased his activity as he works his way back to the field. In addition to hitting on the field and doing defensive drills with coach Kimera Bartee, Polanco ran on the field at Petco Park.
He has not begun running the bases, typically the last step before a player returns from a hamstring injury.
"We're going to increase the workload as we move forward," Hurdle said. "There's no timetable that I can give you other than that we're going to push the rehab, the activity part of it, forward to the best of our abilities."
Without Polanco, the Pirates are using Adam Frazier, John Jaso, Jose Osuna and the recently promoted Jordan Luplow in right field. Frazier started Saturday against right-hander Dinelson Lamet. Luplow could return to the lineup Sunday against lefty Clayton Richard.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.