Courtesy of StepOutside.org

Dickerson switches bats, beats Padres

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Corey Dickerson balances himself on third base in the fourth inning Thursday night. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

If Corey Dickerson isn't happy with an at-bat, he'll switch his batting stance, batting gloves or even his bat before he steps to the plate again. It's not unusual for him to use four different bats in a game or to choke up a few inches on the handle, particularly with two strikes.

Dickerson is in a constant search for comfort at the plate, and any change is made with the explicit goal of helping him put the ball in play. "I trust myself sometimes more than the umpires, you know; I think that tends to lead to my aggression," Dickerson said, flashing a grin.

The impact such a simple approach can have was powerfully illustrated in the Pirates' 5-4 victory over the Padres Thursday night at PNC Park, and it has been the foundation of one of the National League's top offenses.

The Pirates, now 26-17 and still in first place in the Central Division, have struck out the second-fewest times in the NL, and they secured their eighth win in their last nine games after Dickerson switched his bat, put a ball in play against lefty reliever Matt Strahm and reached on an error to allow the go-ahead run to score in the seventh inning.

"Whenever the catcher catches the ball and they call you out, you can't do anything about it," Dickerson said. "I knew he would pitch to me a little tougher, but I knew I was a lefty against a lefty, so I knew he’d attack me a little bit. It is about picking up the guys around me. ... You try to make them make a play no matter what. Try to put the bat on the ball earlier in the count. When it’s two strikes you’ve just got to battle."

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