Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

After latest loss, Pirates focused on righting ship

MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates lost their seventh straight game on Monday afternoon, a 12-6 defeat to the Cardinals they've been trying to catch up to in the National League Wild Card race.

The Bucs are 4 1/2 games behind the Cards with 27 games left to play this season. But this is no longer a time for scoreboard-watching in Pittsburgh, not even the big screen above the left-field bleachers at PNC Park. Their focus remains within and on the field, not on the standings.

Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates lost their seventh straight game on Monday afternoon, a 12-6 defeat to the Cardinals they've been trying to catch up to in the National League Wild Card race.

The Bucs are 4 1/2 games behind the Cards with 27 games left to play this season. But this is no longer a time for scoreboard-watching in Pittsburgh, not even the big screen above the left-field bleachers at PNC Park. Their focus remains within and on the field, not on the standings.

Full Game Coverage

The Pirates fell below .500 for the first time in two months, the latest setback in their longest losing streak since August 2014.

"We know if we don't play the way that we know how to play, it doesn't matter anyway," shortstop Jordy Mercer said. "We're just trying to figure ourselves out, get out of this and get back to playing the baseball we know how to play. That's it."

Even then, it may be too late. The Pirates entered Monday with just an 8.3 percent chance to play in their fourth straight NL Wild Card Game. At a time when they most need things to fall into place, they have struggled to put together a complete game.

When the Pirates have pitched well, they haven't hit, as was the case in their two shutout losses to the Brewers. They've made mistakes in the field and on the bases. When their bats came to life, as they did against Jake Arrieta and Adam Wainwright, they pitched their way out of the game.

That was the case on Monday. Chad Kuhl looked off, giving up three runs in two laborious innings. Jeff Locke surrendered seven runs in three frames. The Pirates scored more runs in one day than they did all weekend, but it wasn't enough.

"What we'll continue to do is deal with the issues we had today, where we came up short, things we need to do better and improve," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Put all our focus on playing a better game tomorrow."

Video: STL@PIT: Bell dives to snag a sharp grounder to first

When Monday's game began, the Pirates had hope, 3 1/2 games back but playing the team they were chasing. When it ended, they had a lineup straight out of Spring Training: two starters, three rookies, two September callups, a backup catcher, Sean Rodriguez out of position in center field and closer Tony Watson, who needed to get his work in.

But the Pirates still fought. Mercer tripled and scored, and rookie Adam Frazier homered to right field.

"Guys show up and they're going to play. Sometimes you just don't play as well as you need to play to win a game," Hurdle said. "We're always going to take the field and represent the jersey."

Video: STL@PIT: Frazier launches a solo homer to right field

When they take the field again Tuesday night, the Pirates will continue to hope and fight.

"All it takes is one good game to get out of it, then who knows what could happen," Mercer said. "We've just got to keep going. That's all we can do, keep going. Each and every day, it's a new start."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pittsburgh Pirates