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Pirates offense stymied, again. Bucs lose, 2-1, again

Justin K. Aller

The Pirates wasted another strong performance from their pitching and defense and fell to the Oakland A's tonight, 2-1. It is the team's fourth loss in a row.

"Part of what's going on right now, especially the last two days, is the pitchers on the mound have been very sharp," Clint Hurdle said of his team's recent offensive struggles.

Gerrit Cole had his second best outing as a Pirate, going seven innings, allowing five hits, two runs and striking out four.

"It was good, I kept them off balance, Russ did a heck of a job calling the game," Cole said of his performance,"I just didn't execute that one change-up."

Pedro Alvarez led off the second with a home run that just reached the batter's eye in center field. It was Pedro's 23rd home run of the season (16th with bases empty) and his seventh hit in a row to the opposite / straightaway center field. After the home run, and in light of Pedro's "snub" by David Wright, who did not select Alvarez to participate in the All-Star Game's Home Run Derby, Pirates fans (led by their own Amaria Cahila, Greg Brown), lit their Twitter torches and stormed the hashtag dedicated to the Mets' third baseman, #whatajoke.

The Athletics jumped ahead, 2-1, in the fourth when Brandon Moss homered deep into the right center field seats. His homer scored John Jaso, who had preceded him with a double.

And that was it.

The only other interesting note as far as the Pirates were concerned tonight was Russell Martin's sacrifice bunt in the seventh. After Alvarez led off the inning with a walk, Martin laid down a surprise, and successful bunt. It is questionable whether that was that was a wise tactical move in that situation. There was some speculation in the press box that Martin may have laid down the bunt on his own, but afterwards Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he was just trying to get something started against Oakland's starter Dan Straily.

"Gave him a free swing, tried to air it out and get a guy in scoring position late," Hurdle said. "We didn't have much happening against that kid, two hits at that point in the game and one run."

The Pirates will try to get their offense started tomorrow night against Oakland starter Tommy Milone.