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Pirates get one hit in fifth straight loss

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates got another strong outing from Gerrit Cole, but their rapidly collapsing offense was overwhelmed by Zack Greinke, getting only one hit and sending only 28 guys with wood objects to the plate in a 2-1 loss to Arizona.

Facing a tough lineup in a hitters park, Cole went seven innings on 103 pitches. He was shaky in the early innings, giving up a double and getting two line outs in the first. In the second he gave up a double, an RBI single and a walk to start the inning, but got a double play ball and a ground out. With one out in the third, a double, single and double brought in the second run and left runners at second and third. Cole recovered, though, to fan the next two hitters.

The two strikeouts started a string of twelve straight hitters that Cole retired. He was helped in the fourth by a great play in the hole by Jordy Mercer. Cole finally gave up a one-out single in the seventh, but a sacrifice and his fifth strikeout ended the inning. Juan Nicasio then pitched a scoreless eighth.

Meanwhile, the wood-holders were out of their depth. Greinke pitched a great game, but it really doesn’t seem to matter who takes the mound. Not everybody is unhittable, but everybody is when he faces the Pirates. Andrew McCutchen was robbed of a hit when David Peralta made a diving catch on his liner in the first. Otherwise, it was just a lot of helpless flailing. The only baserunner Greinke allowed until the eighth came on a walk to Mercer, and he was thrown out stealing, with a safe call overturned by instant replay. Greinke fanned 11, getting Francisco Cervelli three times.

The Pirates staged their standard fake rally in the eighth when Gregory Polanco launched his long overdue first HR inside the right field foul pole. The drive came just Polanco hit another long drive just foul in almost exactly the same spot. But that was about it. Josh Harrison drew a two-out walk in the ninth against Arizona closer Fernando Rodney, but got ignominiously thrown out stealing.