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Poor fielding, offense lead to 4-2 Pirates loss

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Vance Worley gave up three runs in four innings and the Bucs fielded sloppily as they sleepwalked their way to a 4-2 loss against the Phillies Thursday.

An error by Neil Walker started a miserable bottom of the first inning for the Bucs. Freddy Galvis then singled and Ryan Howard singled to load the bases two batters later, and Worley walked Cesar Hernandez with the bases loaded, his last pitch narrowly missing the top edge of the strike zone. Grady Sizemore then dribbled a ground ball single to bring home a second run.

In the third, Galvis hit a grounder to second that resulted in a single because neither Worley nor Pedro Alvarez covered first -- Alvarez's inexperience at first showed as he tried to field the ball rather than letting Neil Walker get it. Galvis then stole second, headed to third on another single by Howard, then came home on as Jordy Mercer failed to field a ball on a short hop.

That was more than the Phillies needed. Radhames Liz came in after four and allowed one run (a Howard solo homer) in three innings. The Bucs didn't threaten much, erasing several of their own baserunners with caught stealings and double plays. They scored their only two runs in the ninth and did put the tying run on when Jung-Ho Kang got hit by a pitch, but it never really felt like they were back in the game.

With losses last night and today, the Pirates split their series against an awful Phillies team and fell back below .500, to 17-18. Series splits against bad teams will happen, but it's frustrating to see one when the Bucs manage to win their first two games, and you're still waiting for them to start performing like they ought to. On the bright side, Josh Harrison managed three singles, hopefully continuing to claw his way back after a terrible start. And Starling Marte had three hits. Beyond that, there wasn't much -- Worley didn't strike out a single batter, the Pirates generally didn't hit or field well, and reasonable performances from Liz and Bobby LaFromboise don't mean much in the grand scheme of things. A road series against the Cubs awaits.