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Marte-led lineup pays off for Pirates

MLB.com @ladsonbill24

NEW YORK -- After Sunday's 3-0 loss to the D-backs, the Pirates' fifth straight loss, manager Clint Hurdle vowed there would be changes. Those changes came quickly, in Monday's lineup against the Mets.

For the first time this season, center fielder Starling Marte was in the leadoff spot, while first baseman Josh Bell and second baseman Josh Harrison were hitting second and third, respectively. They went a combined 3-for-12 and scored five runs in a 6-4 win over the Mets.

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NEW YORK -- After Sunday's 3-0 loss to the D-backs, the Pirates' fifth straight loss, manager Clint Hurdle vowed there would be changes. Those changes came quickly, in Monday's lineup against the Mets.

For the first time this season, center fielder Starling Marte was in the leadoff spot, while first baseman Josh Bell and second baseman Josh Harrison were hitting second and third, respectively. They went a combined 3-for-12 and scored five runs in a 6-4 win over the Mets.

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Bell may have had the biggest blow with a two-run homer in the sixth inning off right-hander Tyler Bashlor.

"If it's broken, you have to fix it," Bell said. "Changing things up. It will give us a new view. Changing things up, it might have been the spark that we needed."

Hitting in the top spot is nothing new for Marte. He has a .327 on-base percentage in 242 games while leading off. Bell has hit second in 37 games prior to Monday's action, going 35-for-135 (.259) with five home runs. Harrison was the primary leadoff man, but he doesn't have much of a history hitting third. In nine games during his career, Harrison is 4-for-26 (.154) while hitting third.

Outfielder Corey Dickerson batted sixth, his second time hitting in that slot in the lineup in 2018. Dickerson has been Pittsburgh's most productive player, hitting .296 with five home runs and 32 RBIs.

Harrison not focused on Trade Deadline: The non-waiver Trade Deadline is a little more than a month away, and Harrison has heard his name mentioned in trade talks.

Instead of focusing on his next destination, he wants to help the Pirates end their current five-game losing streak. During that period, Pittsburgh has scored eight runs.

Harrison knows the nature of the business and realizes he can't control the trade rumors. Harrison could be a free agent after the season if the Pirates don't pick up his option, worth $10.5 million.

"Being around this game long enough, you know that your name is going to be brought up. [My name] has been brought up before," Harrison said. "I think, for a lot of us that have been through that before, it's one of those things where you know it, but you don't worry about it. It's all rumors until something is set in stone. No need to focus any energy on the trade deadline. It's not going to do any good for anybody."

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002 and hosts a podcast, Newsmakers. He is also on Twitter @WashingNats.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Josh Harrison, Starling Marte