'Vintage Cutch' picks up pace with 4-hit night

Pirates' surge parallels star's hot streak, batting .404 since May 6

'Vintage Cutch' picks up pace with 4-hit night

SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew McCutchen's smiles while being robbed of bases-clearing hits twice in quick succession Monday night showed that he was heeding the bad-times advice, "Don't get mad." Tuesday night, McCutchen also heeded the second half of that advisory, "Get even," spraying AT&T Park with four hits in the Bucs' 7-4 victory over the Giants.

The hits included a triple, a double and two singles, leaving McCutchen a homer away from his first cycle. He had a crack at it, too, in an eighth-inning at-bat. But he chose not to overtly try for it, and for a sound reason.

"I was aware of it and thought about it. But I'm going to stay humble, man," said McCutchen, who flied out to right with an inside-out swing at a pitch from left-hander Jeremy Affeldt. "I'm not going up there trying to hit a homer. A month ago, I was hoping for a broken-bat single."

The 4-for-5 night spiked McCutchen's average to .292. He was at .188 on May 6. In hitting .404 since, he has also cemented his renown as the MVP of the Pirates, whose 16-9 tear since parallels his own.

"Vintage Cutch," proclaimed manager Clint Hurdle. "He's been in a nice run offensively, is playing good defense, been very aggressive on the bases. Good for him.

"He's a catalyst in the lineup. Good teams have one, a go-to guy. His confidence is always in place. He was the first one to tell you when things weren't going well that they were going to."

McCutchen made that promise in his already-legendary "oh-for-freaking-four" vent the night of May 5, when, after indeed again going 0-for-4 in a loss to the Reds, he declared, "I'm sick and tired of going 0-for-4. This isn't acceptable. But once it gets going, it ain't going to stop."

"It's not a coincidence," McCutchen said Tuesday night of his hot hitting since, "because I meant what I said. I was fed up and it was, 'Hey, it's time to go.' It's still how I feel, and I'm going to keep that for the rest of the season. I'm going to keep going. I'm not done.

"It's June 2. There's more where that came from."

Giants rob McCutchen twice

A night after being a double-victim of defensive plays, McCutchen just kept hitting balls where Giants outfielders could not get to them. He was in the middle of three of the Bucs' four scoring innings.

"I wouldn't say it makes up for [the previous night]. I was just getting the job done, put the barrel on the ball, got sacrifice flies [toward a 4-3 win]. They did their job, too," McCutchen said of San Francisco outfielders Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence. "Making catches for outs."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.