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Pirates waste excellent Brandon Cumpton start, lose 2-1

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Justin K. Aller

Brandon Cumpton pitched seven strong innings, striking out five and walking one while allowing two runs, but a listless Pirates offense napped its way through another loss, 2-1.

The Bucs scored their only run in the first, on a walk, a single, and then a weird RBI single by Pedro Alvarez in which Brandon Phillips misplayed a grounder and allowed Neil Walker to sprint all the way home from second. The Pirates certainly looked alert on that play, at least.

Still, the Bucs stayed ahead until the sixth, when Cumpton, terrific to that point, hit two batters and allowed a two-run double by Ryan Ludwick. Overall, it was another terrific performance from a guy I still believe is a back-end starter in the long run.

In the eighth inning, Ike Davis and Pedro Alvarez each looked at strike three from Sam LeCure as LeCure struck out the side. Then, due up the next inning were Jordy Mercer, Chris Stewart and Travis Snider. One shouldn't come down too hard on those players specifically, particularly right after Stewart had gunned down Billy Hamilton in the top of the ninth. And at least until the last few days, some of our criticisms of the Pirates' offense had been pretty over the top for a unit that ranked sixth in the league in runs scored. But after watching some of the Pirates' betters hitters watch hittable pitches go by the previous inning, it was hard to imagine the B-unit of Mercer, Stewart and Snider doing much damage. And lo and behold, it didn't.

Anyway, the Pirates are now 3-11 since they went to Miller Park on April 11.