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Missed opportunities haunt Pirates in 2-0 loss

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Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pirates wasted a fine start by A.J. Burnett and dropped a soaked, rain-delayed marathon that ended well past midnight, 2-0.

The story of tonight's game was missed opportunities. The Pirates had runners on second and less than two outs in four separate innings.

In the third, the Pirates had runners on second and third with one out before Gregory Polanco struck out and Josh Harrison grounded out to third. In the fifth, Jung-Ho Kang worked a leadoff walk and moved over to third on a Francisco Cervelli single, but two strikeouts and a line out ended the threat. In the sixth, Neil Walker was stranded at second following a one-out double. Finally, in the seventh, Cervelli walked and was moved over to second via a sacrifice bunt, but again the Pirates failed to cash in.

Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson pitched well when it mattered the most, picking up four of his seven strikeouts when the Pirates had scoring chances.

"He had big-time finish to his sinker and depth to his slider," Clint Hurdle said. "Our game plan was to get him up [in the zone]. The pitches looked like they were up out of his hand, but there so much late action that we weren't able to do much with it."

The Pirates went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Burnett was sharp for most the night, allowing five hits and one run over seven innings. He struck out six, while walking only one. He induced 10 groundouts and was around the strike zone all evening, tossing 68 strikes over 98 pitches.

"It's as effective and efficient as I've seen him through four innings," Hurdle said. "He gave us everything he had."

The only run Burnett gave up came in the fifth after a 28-minute rain delay.

"It had nothing to do with it," Burnett said of the delay. "That pitch just wasn't where I wanted it. But, no, that's no excuse."

After a second rain delay paused action for one hour and 45 minutes following the seventh, Antonio Bastardo started the eighth and retired the first hitter he faced before giving up a trio of singles and a run, which gave the Brewers their margin of victory.