Close games par for the course for Hurdle's Bucs

Close games par for the course for Hurdle's Bucs

ATLANTA -- The Pirates' September to remember has been built in close quarters. The month's first 20 games have included only six games decided by more than three runs (the Bucs won all six), and manager Clint Hurdle sees a relationship between that and his team's 14-6 September record entering Tuesday's game against the Braves.

Simply, his Pirates have spent all four seasons under Hurdle's stewardship in the pressure cooker. The games seem more significant now because of postseason implications, but they have always been tight.

"They've gained a layer of experience playing meaningful close games," Hurdle said. "In four years, the number of games decided by two runs or less is wonderfully crazy."

From Hurdle's first game to No. 642 on Monday night, his Pirates had played 340 games, or 53 percent of them all, decided by one run (211) or two (129).

Worth noting
• The organization has dismissed Altoona manager Carlos Garcia because "we felt we wanted a different voice in the Double-A clubhouse," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said.

Garcia managed Class A Advanced Bradenton for two seasons, and he spent the last two piloting the Curve.

"Every year we evaluate our staff, and made the challenging decision to go in a different direction. Carlos is a talented guy and a good man, and we appreciate what he has done," said Huntington, adding that Altoona's record of 61-81 had "nothing to do with it."

Stolmy Pimentel, who has not gotten any real game action since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 1, pitched a simulated game Tuesday.

• The wins on Sunday over the Brewers and on Monday over the Braves were the Pirates' first consecutive 1-0 victories since they swept the Cardinals by those scores in a doubleheader on the final day of the 1976 season in Three Rivers Stadium.

• Slight correction on the historical perspective of the Pirates' three consecutive 1-0 games, through Monday: The 1960 Phillies did have the same experience but were not the last "live-ball era" MLB team, as originally reported: The 1971 Brewers and 1967 Kansas City A's also went through it.

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