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Kuhl’s first-inning meltdown, inept offense leave Pirates with 7-1 loss

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates finished their stay in Canada with a whimper in a 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays. The game was in doubt for about twenty minutes, as Chad Kuhl got shelled in the first and the offense once again failed to show up. The Pirates finished the series with just 16 hits in 27 innings.

Things started off well enough, as consecutive singles by Josh Harrison, Andrew McCutchen and David Freese got the Pirates a 1-0 lead. But the struggling hitters once again proved Neal Huntington wrong in his notion that the team needs no offensive help, getting just one more hit in their final 29 plate appearances. The closest thing to rallies came in the sixth and eighth, due to back-to-back walks. It happened in the sixth with two out, but Jordy Mercer struck out on a 3-2 pitch well off the plate. In the eighth there was only one out, but Jose Osuna also fanned on a pitch well out of the strike zone and Sean Rodriguez popped up.

After getting the early lead, Kuhl took little time to put the game out of reach. Toronto’s first six batters produced a homer, two doubles and two walks. That was good for four runs. An error by Freese set up a fifth, which came on a delayed double steal that caught the Pirates napping.

Like Trevor Williams yesterday, Kuhl did an effective job of locking the barn door. He managed to get through the fifth without allowing any more runs, despite continued control problems. He finished with four hits allowed, five walks and six strikeouts, a line that was remarkably similar to Williams’.

Wade LeBlanc followed Kuhl and did what Joaquin Benoit did yesterday, inflating the Jays’ output to seven. In LeBlanc’s case it was a pair of gopher balls, one of them to noted powerhouse Darwin Barney. Daniel Hudson mopped up in the eighth.

After a day off, the Pirates will head to Milwaukee for a pair.