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Bucs bats show signs of life but Williams can’t hold lead as Pirates fail for 8th time

Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

For awhile it appeared that the Pirates would stave off their slide toward ignominy, as Trevor Williams mowed down the Dodgers while staked to a 5-1 lead. They teased us right up to the end, but then it ended the same as each of the previous seven days, as the Pirates fell 7-6, allowing Los Angeles to complete a three game sweep.

Melky Cabrera was the hero of the day for Pittsburgh, slamming a solo homer in the first inning and a two-run blast in the second, both off Dodgers’ starter Rich Hill into the seats in left field, with the five runs scored through two innings was the fourth highest number in any game so far this year.

The Dodgers got one back in the home half of the first on a sacrifice fly to the weak-armed Gregory Polanco in right field, but Williams retired seven of the next eight batters before Cody Bellinger lifted a fly to the seats in right, but Williams got right back on track by quickly retiring the next two batters to end the inning.

Then the wheels fell off. Kike Hernandez and Russell martin led off the fifth with line drives singles. After pitcher Hill sacrificed the runners to second and third, Williams whiffed Joc Pederson on three pitches for the second out. Corey Seager stepped in a drove an 0-2 pitch to deep center field. The ball stayed in the park, but utility man Pablo Reyes, pressed into service as the starting center fielder, couldn’t track the ball down as it fell on the track and drove in a pair. Game tied, 5-5.

Williams stayed on to pitch a scoreless sixth then Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle handed the ball to Richard Rodriguez for the seventh. Chris Taylor was done 0-2 then took four straight balls for a walk. Joc Pederson grounded to first, but Josh Bell’s throw to second hit the runner and as the ball rolled into center the runners advanced to second and third. After a pop-up, Max Muncy singled in one runner and Rodriguez was gone, with Francisco Liriano on to face the left-handed Bellinger. Down 0-2, Bellinger worked the count full then lined a single to left to drive in another, giving Los Angeles a 7-5 lead.

As in the night before, the Pirates tried to make it interesting in the eighth. Julio Arias was out for his second inning of relief and Cabrera lined a single to right that skipped by the fielder and allowed the batter to get to third. Polanco walked and Bell lined a single to left to cut the margin to 7-6, with runners on first and second and no one out. After a mound visit, Arias stayed on, getting Jung-ho Kang and Elias Diaz to both pop up to right field and Cole Tucker to swing through a chin high fastball for strike three.

Kenley Jansen came on the close things out in the ninth and got the first two easily, but Adam Frazier kept the Pirates alive, working an eight pitch walk. Cabrera grounded a ball down the left field line for a double, his fourth hit of the game, but with the tying run at third and lead run at second, Polanco took strike one right down the middle, tipped strike two, and swung through strike three at the shoulders.

The team takes a day off two travel to Dallas, where they open a series at 8:05 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday evening against the Texas Rangers, with Jordan Lyles (2-1, 2.05) scheduled to face former Pirates farm hand Adrian Sampson (0-1, 4.50)