Well, the Bucs can kiss .500 goodbye, at least for now. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Hiroki Kuroda racked up eight strikeouts and didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning. Paul Maholm only allowed two runs, but made a huge mess in the sixth inning and needed a Juan Uribe double play to get out of it with only two runs. Late in the game, Andrew McCutchen failed to run down to first on a strikeout that the opposing catcher didn't receive. The Pirates managed a total of four hits. This was the kind of game where it felt like no chance even though they were obviously never more than two runs behind. It's hard to view the Pirates as a .500 team when they play games like this.
The only real positive from this one was that Pedro Alvarez had several hard-hit balls, including a long double to the gap and a ball down the right field line that was on the wrong side of the foul pole by a few feet. He actually looked kind of like a major-league hitter tonight, so perhaps a breakout is on the way. As for the rest of the team? Well ... the Pirates were without Neil Walker and Jose Tabata tonight, and it's beginning to look at least possible that Alvarez could begin one of his patented hot streaks. Other than that, this was a frustrating game to watch.