Pirates’ manager search may be waiting for Clint Hurdle

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Despite wrapping up interviews with various managerial candidates two weeks ago the Pirates have yet to name a replacement for John Russell, which has Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com speculating that they’re waiting for the postseason to end so they can talk to Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle.

Hurdle was the Rockies’ manager from 2002-2009 and took the team to the World Series in 2007, but that was also his lone playoff appearance and his overall record was just 534-625 for a sub par .461 winning percentage.

Ringolsby covered the Rockies for the Rocky Mountain News while Hurdle was manager and clearly thinks very highly of him, writing that he “would seem to fit the Pirates’ needs well” after “elevating the Rockies credibility among sports fans” in Colorado.

Pittsburgh has suffered through 18 straight losing seasons and avoiding a 19th will be tough in 2011, but the Pirates do have a solid nucleus of young talent and probably aren’t as far away from snapping the streak (and perhaps even contending in the NL Central) as most people would assume.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.