Clint Hurdle is unafraid to speak his mind and even less afraid to send his runners on the basepaths, but the Pirates' new manager has seen his aggressiveness cost him precious runs this season.
That was on glaring display Monday at Washington during the hideous fourth inning of the 4-2 loss to the Nationals.
Brandon Wood led off with a walk but, when Chris Snyder singled, Wood made the first out of the inning at third base. Ronny Cedeno doubled Snyder to third, but Paul Maholm, the pitcher who failed to execute a bunt in his first at-bat, was asked to do a safety squeeze.
Yes, with Snyder -- owner of zero career steals -- charging home from third.
Maholm failed to get a piece of the ball, Snyder was an easy out, and the Pirates somehow got nothing out of an inning that opened with a walk, a single and a double.
Small wonder that the Pirates have lost six in a row since poking their heads a game above .500 last week.
"We didn't have a good night," Hurdle said. "You know it's a gamble. We had players in scoring position, and we rolled the dice there. We've lost a few in a row, and I don't want to step off accelerator, go station to station and sit on our hands. We don't have a perfect team. I'd rather try to slow down a horse that's running hard than kick a mule that's not running at all."
The Pirates went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Wood's gaffe looked the worst of the two in that inning.
"Yeah, we all know you don't want to make the first out of the inning at third base," Hurdle said. "If that throw's even two feet off, he's in there. It's right at the base, and he's out."
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