Bucs struggle after delay, but don't blame rain
Pirates have experience with inclement weather, 'don't get caught up in all that external stuff,' Hurdle says
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have gotten used to rain delays this season. They've sat and waited, gone back to the clubhouse and retaken the field through nearly 12 hours worth of them over eight games this year.
They came out on the other side of a two-hour, eight-minute stoppage Friday night and saw a close game -- down one, tying run on first -- slip away as they lost to the Indians, 5-2, at PNC Park.
After the lengthy delay, the Bucs struck out six times in 10 plate appearances. They hit only one ball out of the infield. Reliever Arquimedes Caminero served up two runs on three straight hits in the eighth.
The Pirates insisted, however, that the rain delay had nothing to do with their late-game struggles.
"We're used to it. Not every day is going to be sunny and not raining. There's going to be days like this," said center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who finished the game 1-for-2 with two walks and a homer. "Just have to keep ourselves in the game and stay active, and when it's time to go, be ready to go."
Manager Clint Hurdle echoed McCutchen's comments, pointing to the Pirates' experience in dealing with such delays all year.
The rain persisted throughout the night on Pittsburgh's North Shore, but the field remained in good enough shape to play 6 1/3 innings of uninterrupted baseball.
Then, in the bottom of the seventh, after Starling Marte reached on a fielder's choice ground ball, the umpires halted the game and the grounds crew rolled out the tarp.
More than two hours later, play resumed as Pedro Alvarez struck out against reliever Marc Rzepczynski. After another short pause for a pitching change and to redraw the batter's box, Francisco Cervelli walked, but Gregory Polanco struck out to end the threat.
"We don't get caught up in all that external stuff," Hurdle said. "We got a game to play, and if it rains, you come off the field and wait till you get to come back on."
Caminero took the mound, walked the leadoff man and allowed three straight one-out singles, including Michael Bourn's two-run bloop to center. He has now been charged with runs in four of his past six outings.
"It's location," Hurdle said. "Balls are elevated more than in the past."
The Pirates went down quietly after that. Four of their final seven hitters struck out, and only one reached safely.
Credit the Indians' pitching staff, or just say the Pirates were due for an off night after reeling off three straight wins in Detroit. Just don't blame this one on the rain.
"We've been doing it a lot lately, so I don't think it's a challenge," Hurdle said. "We got some experience doing it."