Walker in midst of hottest stretch of season

Walker in midst of hottest stretch of season

Walker in midst of hottest stretch of season
MILWAUKEE -- Pirates second baseman Neil Walker has decidedly found his stroke. He started Sunday's game with a single, giving him a 15-game hitting streak, the longest such streak for a Pirates player this season, and leaving him three games shy of his career-best 18-game streak in 2010.

This isn't one of those hitting streaks characterized by a number of 1-for-4 showings, either. Walker is hitting .473 (26 for 55) with eight doubles, 14 RBIs and 18 runs scored in the stretch, and he has seven RBIs in his last five games.

"I think his balance, his foundation is the best it's been all season," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said before Saturday's game. "His shoulders are square when his front foot is hitting the ground, and he's just getting his swing off much cleaner."

His double-play partner, Clint Barmes, also made a nifty play Saturday when he corralled a blistering in-between hop and retired Corey Hart in the sixth.

"Within the industry, I think our guys have gotten attention," Hurdle said when asked if the double-play combo's defense flew under the radar. "Flash is fine when you get the job done, but our guys' flash is getting the job done. There's no bling to their game, they just make plays."