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Pirates fall to Tigers 7-4, lose for fifth time in 6 games

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates lost their third straight game and fifth in their last six in a strange, frustrating 7-4 defeat at the hands of the Tigers Thursday afternoon.

Gerrit Cole plowed through the Tigers' lineup for the first few innings while, on the other side, the Bucs' offense failed to score against Jordan Zimmermann but at least forced him to throw a lot of pitches. In the fourth, though, Cole gave up a single to Ian Kinsler, then got a force out as Justin Upton replaced Kinsler on the bases. With two outs (one on a gutsy strikeout of Miguel Cabrera), Cole let Justin Upton move to third on a throwing error in which John Jaso was nowhere near the bag, then immediately walked J.D. Martinez and gave up a two-run double on a hanging slider to Nick Castellanos. Things went from bad to worse in the seventh, when the newly-promoted Rob Scahill entered and immediately gave up two runs.

The Pirates did get three back in the bottom of the inning, although even that rally almost ended before it really began. Jaso led off with a double and Andrew McCutchen followed with a walk, but David Freese grounded into a double play to wipe a man off the bases and put two quick outs on the scoreboard. Then, though, the Bucs hit four straight singles, three of which brought home a run apiece.

Castellanos got the Pirates again in the eighth, though. Tony Watson had already given up a run when Castellanos came to the plate with one on and smashed a waist-high changeup to left to put the Tigers up 7-3.

Even that wasn't enough to put the Pirates away, but fortunately for the Tigers, Pirates third base coach Rick Sofield delivered the knockout blow himself. Jaso singled with one out in the inning, and then McCutchen doubled to center. Instead of just holding Jaso at third, though, Sofield let him get gunned down at the plate, even though the only smart play with a 7-3 deficit was to be conservative. Annoyingly, Freese then promptly doubled (and, by the way, almost got himself thrown out at second base), a hit that would have put the Bucs in striking distance of the Tigers had Jaso not been thrown out.

After winning four straight against the Cardinals and Reds to begin their season, the Bucs now find themselves at 5-5. They'll begin a home series against the Brewers tomorrow.