Clint Barmes had gotten past the point of looking for a big hit.
“I just wanted any kind of hit,” the Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop said with a smile.
He got two of them Sunday, and both were important.
Barmes had a pair of run-scoring singles for his first two RBIs of the season, including a tiebreaking hit in the sixth inning that led the Pirates over Atlanta 4-2 for their third straight win over the Braves.
Barmes began the day with an .093 batting average and was in an 0-for-14 slide.
“I really haven’t been swinging the bat as badly as it looks,” Barmes said. “If some hard-hit balls had found some holes, then my average would be better. Still, I know it looks bad when you look at the average, and it’s tough to keep grinding and having nothing to show for it.”
Atlanta led 2-0 in the second when Pedro Alvarez singled and scored on Russell Martin’s double, and Barmes followed with a tying single.
“Clint had a big hit there,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We fell behind 2-0, and three minutes later we were tied again.”
Then in the sixth, Neil Walker singled leading off against Kris Medlen (1-2), advanced to third on Alvarez’s flyout and Martin’s groundout, and scored on Barmes’ single to shortstop. Andrelton Simmons gloved the ball near second but couldn’t get the throw to first in time as Barmes raised his average to .130 with a 2-for-3 day.
“I’m happy for Clint,” Hurdle said. “He works hard. All these guys work hard. I think having success builds confidence in anyone. I know when I have success, I start thinking I’m a little better than I really am. I’m sure Clint has to feel good about himself.”
Atlanta has lost four of five following a 12-1 start.