PIT@CHC: Marte makes outstanding grab in foul ground

CHICAGO -- The Pirates will be without one of their hottest hitters at least for the next two days, as left fielder Starling Marte left the team to attend to a personal matter in his Dominican Republic home.

Marte rushed off Saturday morning, and will miss the final two games of the Bucs' series against the Cubs.

"I anticipate him being back Monday," said manager Clint Hurdle.

The Pirates will be in Tampa Bay on Monday beginning a three-game Interleague series against the Rays.

Marte carried a 10-game hitting streak into Friday's series opener here in which he was hitless in four at-bats. He has hit .316 since taking up permanent residence eight games ago in the two-hole between Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen.

Josh Harrison, spelling Pedro Alvarez at third against Chicago left-hander Travis Wood, batted second and Jose Tabata took over in left.

Tabata began the game with a .393 average against southpaws this season.

"You never want anybody to have to get away, but we got a very capable Plan B," Hurdle said of Tabata, "that just turned into Plan A."

First number, last word

5: Number of different Pirates who have had hitting streaks of 10-plus games this season - Andrew McCutchen (12), Neil Walker (11), Marte (10), Harrison (10) and Polanco (10, current). The American League's Tigers are the only other MLB team to share that feat.

"It's been all about pitching. It's been a gritty, grinding season for us. A lot has gone on, and it's only the third week of June - which has made it really fun." - Hurdle, who clearly loves a challenge.

Worth noting

• Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has known for four-and-a-half months that he would be one of National League All-Star manager Mike Matheny's coaches. The Cardinals skippeextended that invitation to Hurdle the Feb. 6 night he was honored in Pittsburgh as the Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year.

"So he was way in front of it," said Hurdle, calling the opportunity "one of the coolest things -- like making a Little League all-star team."

Francisco Liriano (strained left oblique) stretched out his flat-ground catch distance to 50 throws at 90 feet the last two days with "no side effects," according to Hurdle. There are no plans yet for him to thrown off a mound.

• Neither Jason Grilli (37 pitches the previous two games) nor lefty Justin Wilson (pitched three of previous four games) were available out of the Bucs' bullpen Saturday night.