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Great pitching overcomes blundering offense as Pirates top Brewers

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MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates’ offensive comedy act took the field behind Gerrit Cole against Matt Garza and the Brewers. The game mostly went according to script, with Cole shutting down the bad guys and the guys holding the bats continuing to exhibit an unfamiliarity with their use, as well as other basics of the game. In the end, though, the good guys’ pitching won out.

The Bucs’ trademark blundering started early. Francisco Cervelli hit a one-out double in the second. When John Jaso followed with a double, though, Cervelli evidently misjudged the ball and tried to tag up. As a result he made it only to third. Jordy Mercer then lined out, but Jaso apparently forgot how many outs there were, took off running, and got himself doubled off second.

Cole was sailing along until Hernan Perez led off the fourth with a HR, but the Pirates got the run back in the bottom half. Josh Bell led off with a double, then showed he hasn’t absorbed how veterans run the bases. He took third when Andrew McCutchen flied out after unsuccessfully trying to bunt (?!). Gregory Polanco grounded out to first and Bell came home.

The Pirates’ mind-numbing RISP buffoonery then resumed in the sixth. They loaded the bases with nobody out on singles by Cole, Josh Harrison and Bell. McCutchen, who dropped to .218 with an 0-4 day, then grounded into a double play by way of the plate and Polanco grounded out to end the threat. The comedy act continued in the seventh when Cervelli led off with a bunt single. Jaso hit into a double play, which Mercer naturally followed with a pointless single.

Through seven, Cole had allowed just two hits and two walks, while fanning eight. He was up to 100 pitches, though, so he once again departed winless thanks to his bumbling teammates.

Felipe Rivero and Tony Watson did their parts. Rivero fanned the side in the eighth. Watson got through the ninth with the help of a line out, then had an easy tenth. The Pirates had another chance to score in the ninth against old teammate Neftali Feliz, but a one-out Polanco double was wasted when Cervelli grounded out and, after an intentional walk to Jaso, Mercer fanned to leave runners at second and third.

In the bottom of the tenth, though, the Pirates finally ran out of punch lines. Gift Ngoepe led off with a single and went to third on a wild pitch and a fly out. Josh Harrison then brought the game to an overdue end with a line drive hit to right.