PITTSBURGH - Until the Pittsburgh Pirates media relations department had informed him, Clint Hurdle was unaware that he was on the verge of a career milestone on Wednesday night.
The manager entered the game with 599 victories to his credit.
"I know that I've got more losses than that as a manager," said Hurdle, who had 702 of those as well. "So if anything, I'm looking to close the separation between wins and losses."
Hurdle took the first step in a 5-4 win against the Houston Astros at PNC Park.
In the eighth inning, pinch-hitter Jason Jaramillo singled off reliever Sergio Escalona to snap a 4-all deadlock.
"It just means that you've been fortunate enough to do it for a longer amount of time than a lot of other guys," Hurdle said of his 600th triumph.
Andrew McCutchen and a flawless bullpen were mostly responsible for it.
McCutchen broke out of a mini-slump with a pair of home runs, his 21st and 22nd of the season. The center fielder entered the game with two hits and seven strikeouts in his last previous 20 at-bats.
The Pirates trailed in the fifth inning, 4-1, when McCutchen reached starter J.A. Happ for a three-run homer to tie the score. The drive inside the left field fair pole scored pinch-hitter Brandon Wood (walk) and left fielder Alex Presley (single) ahead of him.
In the first inning, McCutchen hit a solo homer to right-center field, an area that he visited more often in recent weeks.
"It's more about knowing myself, knowing what I'm capable of, knowing that I can drive the ball that way," McCutchen said. "That's what I did and what I've started to. I trust myself to let the ball travel [deeper in the strike zone] then hit it a long way."
The second four-bagger took starter Brian Burres off the hook. The left-hander lasted only 3 2/3 innings, in which he allowed four runs on seven hits.
As was the case at Triple A Indianapolis this season, the gopher ball bit Burres hard again.
In the first inning, first baseman Carlos Lee and second baseman Matt Downs went deep on consecutive pitches. Three innings later, shortstop Clint Barmes hit his 10th homer of the season.
Five relievers came to the rescue with 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
In his major league debut, Jared Hughes retired 4-of-5 batters. He got his first out on one pitch to close the fourth inning then bolted to the dugout.
"If I went back fast to the dugout, then it was pure adrenaline," he said. "I don't remember it."
Hurdle was able to recall his two favorite victories, both as Colorado Rockies manager in the 2007 season.
The first was a one-game playoff against the San Diego Padres to decide the wild card race. The other was Game 4 of the NLCS, which saw the Rockies sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks and advance to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
"If had a dollar for every time that I wouldn't win in Colorado, I would never have had to work again anywhere," he said. "It was so gratifying for me to see so many people happy - employees and people in the street, people running businesses downtown, people selling season tickets - and to know the impact that it had on them."
Hurdle said he would remember his latest victory even if it wasn't quite as important.
"I don't have many balls in my collection," he said. "The first one that I got as a manager was my 500th. [Bench coach] Jeff [Banister] gave me this one and I'll keep it.
"This one has some meaning to it."