Adam Frazier stayed behind the slider from Cardinals starter Austin Gomber and lined the ball into the gap in left-center for a two-run double, igniting a roar from the 32,473 fans at PNC Park. That effortless, compact swing tied the score to cap a three-run fourth inning in which the Pirates' surging offense overcame a third consecutive short start from the rotation.
The crowd was quiet not long after, though. Right-hander Alex McRae, a rookie right-hander with a 1.59 WHIP as a starter in Triple-A this season, was tagged for three runs, including two in the fifth, and the Pirates managed only one hit the rest of the game, as they lost to the Cardinals, 8-4, Saturday night.
Ivan Nova pitched only four innings and the Pirates' past three starters — including Chris Archer — have lasted a total of 9 1/3 innings, giving Hurdle few options with the score tied and sole possession of third place on the line. His decision to give the ball to McRae exposed a glaring hole on the roster that neither he nor Neal Huntington may have an answer for.
[caption id="attachment_672947" align="aligncenter" width="440"]TAP ABOVE FOR BOXSCORE, STANDINGS, VIDEO[/caption]
"We’re doing what we can," Hurdle would say afterwards.