The Cincinnati Reds (69-42) 10-3 in their last 13 games and winners of five straight, have taken advantage of the Pittsburgh Pirates (71-49) losing five of six games to pull within 2.5 games of the Pirates for first place in the NL Central Division.
After being swept by the Colorado Rockies, the Pirates lost two of three games to the St. Louis Cardinals (69-51) as Pittsburgh’s lead in the division over St. Louis is at 2 games and 2.5 games over the Reds.
The Pirates were very competitive in all three games and one way to look at the Pirates small skid is that they’re gaining valuable experience in playing playoff-atmosphere baseball and that’s how manager Clint Hurdle is looking at it.
“The great thing about what we are going through is the challenges and opportunities we are all getting moving forward through the season,” Hurdle said. “I mean this is playoff-atmosphere baseball. You are playing against a very good ballclub so the opportunities, the challenges that come with it, are just going to sharpen us for what’s in front of us.”