The Pirates' inability to score against Doug Fister overshadowed an excellent Jameson Taillon start Monday as the Bucs dropped their fourth straight, 3-1.
The loss continued a recent pattern of poor work from the Bucs' offense. Fister didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning and generally kept the Pirates quiet all night with a seemingly baffling assortment of 80-something-MPH fastballs and cutters.
Taillon was terrific overall, matching his career high by going eight innings, and whiffing eight batters while walking just one. He only really ran into trouble in the fifth, when he walked A.J. Reed and threw an inside fastball to rookie Teoscar Hernandez -- definitely not a big mistake pitch, even if it was a bit off-target -- that Hernandez smashed over the wall in left.
Those two runs provided the Astros with more than they would need, but they tacked on a run in the ninth as another Astros rookie, Alex Bregman, homered off Neftali Feliz.
Offensively, the Pirates got just five hits, three of which were doubles, two by Gregory Polanco and one by Josh Bell. (Bell, by the way, made one nice stop at first but also made his first error there.) The Bucs scored their first run with two outs in the ninth as David Freese singled home Polanco, only for Freese to run into the last out on the bases.
The loss dropped the Pirates to 62-60, 3.5 games back of the Cardinals and two back of the Marlins. Neither of those teams played tonight.