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Bucs fail to get a timely hit, lose 2-1

Justin K. Aller

The Pirates received another solid start from Jeff Locke, but were unable to get a timely hit and dropped their third game in a row, 2-1.

On the night the Pirates left 10 men on base and went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The Pirates are three for 24 in their last three games with RISP.

Most frustrating for the Bucs was that their two hardest-hit balls of the game came in run scoring situations and were turned into outs.

The first one was in the seventh with runners on first and second and two outs. Andrew McCutchen hit a shot to left center that was drifting away from Oakland center fielder, Coco Crisp, and looked headed for extra bases. But Crisp ran it down and made a diving catch, covering exactly five of those lawn stripes in center field in 2.8 seconds.

"Right when I hit it I knew he was going to catch it," McCutchen said. "That's Coco Crisp, he's fast."

The second one came in the eighth with two outs and runners on second and third. Clint Barmes drove Yoenis Cespedes back to the warning track. The Oakland left fielder was less then graceful getting under the ball and there was a moment when it appeared it might just go over his end, but he ended up making the grab and the Pirates were again left empty-handed.

It is worth nothing that Barmes had a nice day offensively, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. It would be surprising if Barmes-Mercer weren't teamed up at shortstop and second base if Walker is not back tomorrow. (Brandon Inge went hitless in three at bats and is now 0 for his last twelve plate appearances.)

Jeff Locke once again kept runs and hits off the board even though he did not induce many swings and misses. On the night he walked three, including one that forced home Oakland's second run of the game in the seventh, and struck out four.

Bartolo Colon had another strong outing for the Athletics, going seven innings, striking out five and allowing only one run. The 40 year old right-hander was throwing fastballs in the the mid-90s after his 100 pitch mark.

The Pirates try to break their losing streak tomorrow with Gerrit Cole taking the mound.