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Bucs’ bats once again fail to back studly pitching

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Another game where both teams scraped for any run they could find, but in the end the Pirates’ drop their third straight Tuesday night at PNC Park, 2-1 to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

It was the first time in five games that the Pirates had lost when Trevor Williams was the starting pitcher. Tonight he only allowed two runs in seven innings, but Arizona’s Luke Weaver, frequently aided by home plate umpire Gerry Davis’ wide strike zone, was just a run better.

The Pirates broke onto the scoreboard first, when Colin Moran led off with a pop up that fell behind the pitcher, allowing Moran to leg out an infield single. After Bryan Reynolds struck out, Moran put his wheels to good use again as he lumbered from first to home on Francisco Cervelli’s double to the notch in left-center, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

That lasted until the top of the fourth when Jarrod Dyson led off with a line single to left, and after a force and a ground out Eduardo Escobar was at second when Adam Jones doubled on a liner to right-center.

Even when the Pirates did get base runners, nothing good was allowed to come of it. Reynolds singled to start the bottom of the fourth, his sixth hit in twelve at bats since his recall, but apparently tweaked a quad in his thigh while running to first. Two pitches after Jason Martin pinch-ran, Cervelli grounded into a double play. Again in the seventh, Cervelli walked but on the next pitch Cole Tucker also grounded into an easy twin killing.

The final and decisive run was scored by Arizona in the top of the sixth. With one out Dyson walked and Escobar grounded a ball through the normal shortstop position, hustling into second for a double. David Peralta then hit a soft liner past a diving Josh Bell that Adam Frazier took on one hop, but with no one covering first Frazier made a valiant but soft toss home that Cervelli caught well in front of the plate, and was late in his blind backwards swipe in an attempt to tag the speedy Dyson.

After scoreless innings from Richard Rodriguez and Keone Kela kept the game to a one-run margin, the Pirates’ faithful hoped for a ninth-inning rally. Against closer Greg Holland, Martin walked with one out and took second on a wild pitch, but with the tying runner at second Cervelli failed to check his swing and fanned for the second out. With the rookie Tucker due up, Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle instead sent struggling slugger Jung-ho Kang to the plate, but on a 2-0 pitch Kang lifted a lazy fly to left for the final out of the game.

With their record now at 12-9, the Pirates and Diamondbacks will play the third game of their four game series at 7:05 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, with Arizona’s Merrill Kelly (1-2. 4.37) scheduled to face Jordan Lyles (2-0, 0.53)