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Pirates blow chance after chance, lose to Reds, 2-1

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates wasted one scoring opportunity after another against a string of minor league pitchers, and finally lost to the Reds, 2-1, on a walkoff triple by Jay Bruce.

The tone was set right from the start.  The Reds' starter was Tim Melville, a long-ago prospect who's pitched poorly throughout his minor league career, and who was making his major league debut today only due to injuries.  Melville walked the first two hitters he faced, and later walked the bases loaded, but the Pirates came up empty.  Chris Stewart hit a solo HR, his first longball since 2013, in the second.  Later in the inning, a double by Andrew McCutchen left runners on second and third with two outs, but again the Pirates didn't score.  Starling Marte led off the third with a single, but Gregory Polanco bunted Hurdled him to second with a string of weaker right-handed hitters coming up afterward who stranded Marte.

Melville stumbled through four innings, taking 92 pitches to get that far.  He was followed by recent waiver claim Dan Straily, who throttled the Pirates for three innings.  Straily was followed by Jumbo Diaz and Ross Ohlendorf, who combined to allow four hits and a walk, but no runs, in their two innings.  In all, the Pirates stranded 14 runners and went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

Meanwhile, Jeff Locke channeled All-Star Jeff Locke, allowing baserunners but mostly escaping harm.  He allowed seven hits and two walks, while striking out only one, in six innings.  Five of the runners came in the first two innings, but he was rescued by a bases-loaded double play in the first and an alert play by Stewart in the second.  On the latter play, Adam Duvall followed a leadoff single by Bruce with a double.  Bruce held up at third on the throw home, but Stewart caught Duvall straying too far off second.  Locke then struck out Melville and retired Billy Hamilton.  The only damage off Locke came on Eugenio Suarez' fourth HR of the season, in the sixth.

Neftali Feliz and Tony Watson threw a scoreless inning each in relief of Locke, but Arquimedes Caminero got into trouble immediately in the ninth.  Brandon Phillips lined a leadoff single and, one out later, Bruce tripled to right.

After a great start against the Cardinals, the Pirates unfortunately resumed their habit of playing miserable baseball against a bad Reds team.  They'll head to Detroit tomorrow with a 4-2 record.