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Pirates struggle with runners on, lose 5-3

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates left 11 runners on base against the Brewers Friday night, twice leaving the bases loaded, en route to a 5-3 Pirates loss.

The Bucs also lost Jordy Mercer after Martin Maldonado got him with his spike while sliding in the third inning, but it appears Mercer only has a bruise.

Charlie Morton went six and allowed all five Brewers runs. Three of those came in the fourth (by which point the Bucs had built a 3-0 lead thanks in part to several Brewers errors). Ryan Braun doubled, and then Morton loaded the bases with a walk and a hit by pitch. Then Scooter Gennett doubled to the wall in right center, bringing home two runners, although Jose Tabata and Neil Walker were able to gun down Khris Davis, who represented the third run. Maldonado then singled in Gennett.

Then Carlos Gomez led off the top of the fifth and took a violent swing on a low Morton changeup, drilling it to deep center to make it 4-2. Gomez then added an RBI single the following inning. (Entertainingly, Gomez's hit was preceded by a ground-ball single by Martin Maldonado that literally tore the cover off the ball -- see above.)

The Pirates did manage to make some noise in the late innings, but not enough. Andrew McCutchen brought home a run with a double with two outs in the seventh, but Pedro Alvarez struck out to leave two runners on. The Bucs then loaded the bases against Jim Henderson in the eighth, but Starling Marte hit a harmless popup to end it. Then Russell Martin walked against Francisco Rodriguez to lead off the ninth, but the Pirates couldn't get anywhere, thanks in part to a good catch by Mark Reynolds to make the final out on Walker's line drive.