On Wednesday, the Pirates were swept by the Chicago Cubs with an 8-5 defeat, the Bucs' 12th loss in 13 games. Starting pitcher Kevin Hart had control problems, but the Cubs jumped out to a 3-0 lead and despite offensive efforts by Andrew McCutchen, with a two-run double, and Ronny Cedeno, with a three-run shot in the bottom of the eighth, it wasn't enough. Hart (4-6) took the loss, pitching five innings, giving up six hits, four earned runs, one homer, walking six and striking out three.
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The Pirates opened a three-game set with the Houston Astros on Friday, and began with a 9-1 loss. Andy LaRoche had his ninth homer, but that was it for the bats, wasting Charlie Morton's solid start. With six runs in the bottom of the seventh, the Astros put the game away. Morton (3-8) pitched six innings, giving up six hits, three earned runs, one home run, walking two and striking out three.
On Saturday, the Pirates again fell to the Astros in a 4-2 loss. Ross Ohlendorf (11-10) pitched well and the game was tied 2-2, but then he surrendered a two-run shot to Miguel Tejeda. Ohlendorf threw 6 1/3 innings, giving up four hits, four earned runs, two homers, walking one and striking out three.
The Bucs on Sunday finally turned it around and salvaged their series with a 2-1 win over the Astros. Paul Maholm (8-8) pitched with grit and resourcefulness and an eighth inning homer by Ryan Dournit provided what proved to be a valuable insurance run. Maholm pitched eight innings, giving up six hits, walking two and striking out two. Matt Capps closed out the game by pitching the ninth, though he gave up two hits, including a home run, but preserved the win for Maholm with his 25th save.
In their last 17 games, the Pirates have won only twice and Monday night was another frustrating loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Bucs fell 6-2. Daniel McCutchen (0-2) gave up four runs in five innings and Andy LaRoche had two hits. McCutchen pitched five innings, giving up seven hits, four earned runs, one homer, walking two and striking out one.
The Pirates on Tuesday fell again to the Dodgers 5-4 in 13 innings. With a 3-2 lead going into the last of the ninth, the Bucs' bullpen surrendered a run to tie it. The Pirates went ahead in the top of the 13th, but Andre Ethier's two-run homer finished the game. Zach Duke started and pitched well, but Phil Dumtrait (0-1) got hung with the loss. He surrendered the homer and was charged with one run and the loss, while Chris Bootcheck was charged with the other run.
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