CLEVELAND — Clint Hurdle is savoring the Pirates' unprecedented revival from rock bottom in Los Angeles to rocking one of the best teams in the American League to make history. Hurdle, 102 games into his 15th season as a manager in the major leagues, wanted his coaches and 25 players to do the same.
After all, their rise from 12 1/2 back to bona fide contender in the Central Division has them in rare air. The Pirates achieved their first 11-game winning streak in 22 years Tuesday night with a 9-4 drubbing of the first-place Indians at Progressive Field. Their 14 hits, three of which were home runs, resulted in their seventh straight game of six or more runs, a franchise first since RalphKiner’s rookie season in 1946.
Another Cubs loss drew them to within six of first place, and they're only three back in the Wild Card. They've homered in a season-high nine straight and have won 13 of their last 14. Yet, the one number that mattered most was the one Hurdle mentioned to select players: 11.
No team in the 132-year history of the Pirates has won fewer than 85 games when having such a streak. And of their seven teams to reach the World Series, four had a streak this long.
"It doesn’t happen very often, and there’s a reason why it happens when it happens," Hurdle acknowledged. "I think those are the moments you take and appreciate. I was sharing some thoughts, I picked my spots to share thoughts with different guys. I’ve been here eight years, and it’s the first time it’s happened. It happened only one time in Colorado. There you go. For the 15 years I’ve managed it’s happened twice. It doesn’t happen very often."