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Cardinals batter Jeff Locke, Chad Kuhl in 12-6 Pirates loss

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After allowing seven and 10 runs, respectively, to Milwaukee in their last two losses, the Pirates' run prevention dug a little deeper, falling to the Cardinals, 12-6, at home on Monday. It was the Bucs' seventh straight loss.

The Pirates fell to 4 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the National League's second wild-card spot, and dipped below .500, at 67-68.

The details, if you must:

  • Starter Chad Kuhl was not sharp, leaving an elevated sinker that opposing pitcher Adam Wainwright couldn't help but knock off the center-field wall for an RBI double. Stephen Piscotty later knocked another long double to score two in a three-run second inning after Kuhl had escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning unscathed. At one point, the trainer went out to talk to Kuhl, but he remained in the game then.
  • Jeff Locke was even worse, relieving Kuhl to start the third. The Cardinals tagged him for four runs in the fourth, though the defense wasn't of much help, with a throwing error by David Freese and a fielding error by Josh Bell. Jedd Gyorko and Matt Adams knocked homers off of him. (It was apparently Gyorko's 26th homer of the year. And some say Cardinals Devil Magic isn't a thing.) With AAA Indianapolis' season wrapping up Monday, the Pirates didn't have their full September complement of pitchers yet and Locke stayed in to wear this one. He gave up seven runs, a mere four of which were earned.
  • The Pirates had a little hope in the second, pulling within 3-2 with a string of singles and a pinch-hit RBI double from Bell.
  • After hope was lost, Andrew McCutchen and Adam Frazier each hit homers.
  • Francisco Cervelli left the game with left thumb discomfort, apparently stemming from a swing on his fourth-inning strikeout. For St. Louis, Piscotty left after getting hit on the hand by a pitch from Locke.
  • Jung-Ho Kang was activated from the disabled list before the game. He struck out looking in a pinch-hit appearance.
Anyway, I may be responding to the Twitter eggs and disgruntled bleacherites of the world, but I'm really not down with knocking the Pirates' effort, leadership or other intangibles in absence of good evidence pointing to that. This isn't football. They aren't going to bang heads and snarl and jump around all day just to show they mean it. I don't know what people are looking for. There are plenty of much more legitimate reasons for the team's issues. I'm not in the clubhouse to know if there's any trouble, but, unless something tangible surfaces, we'd be a lot better off staying away from the effort narrative.