PHILADELPHIA -- In an all-too-familiar tale, the Pirates got more than enough out of their starter, only to see the effort wasted by a struggling offense that can't string together runs."It falls in our lap," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We had opportunities. We had them throughout the game. We
PHILADELPHIA -- In an all-too-familiar tale, the Pirates got more than enough out of their starter, only to see the effort wasted by a struggling offense that can't string together runs.
"It falls in our lap," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We had opportunities. We had them throughout the game. We had a rough week. We need to take a day off and figure it out, and show up ready to play at home [on Tuesday]."
Despite a strong effort by the pitching staff, including six innings of one-hit ball by starter Trevor Williams, the Pirates fell for the fourth time in as many games to the Phillies, on this day a 3-2, 11-inning loss at Citizens Bank Park. Pirates reliever Richard Rodriguez surrendered a one-out RBI single to Aaron Altherr to take the loss.
"We haven't performed well -- I think it's the last 10 games -- for a while now," Hurdle said. "Two games we've performed well offensively, the other eight have been a challenge."
Williams limited the Phillies despite struggling to stay in the strike zone. Of the 92 pitches he threw, 49 were for strikes, which led to several innings in which he had to work harder than his line might indicate. He openly admitted he did not have his best stuff, finding himself in seven 3-0 counts. Still, Williams was able to work the first five innings without a hit, but he also issued five walks.
With the Pirates leading, 2-0, one of those free passes went to Andrew Knapp, which set the stage for his counterpart Nick Pivetta to break up the no-hitter. Pivetta, hitting in the eight-hole, doubled to right and scored Knapp all the way from first. A wild pitch put Pivetta on third and the game was tied on a sacrifice fly by Cesar Hernandez.
"Going into the fifth inning, we were good with my pitch count," said Williams, who also had seven strikeouts on the afternoon. "We maintained a good plan, and we stuck with what had worked. We pitched to weak contact.
"You walk a tightrope when you walk five guys. Luckily the big inning didn't happen for them today."
The offense is the biggest concern for a team that scored just five runs in this four-game series. In the fifth, Jordy Mercer hit a one-out double and catcher Elias Diaz followed with his second home run of the season to give the Pirates a brief 2-0 lead. They were unable to capitalize on chances as the game went on -- leaving nine runners on base -- going just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
"Again, we've had a rough week," Hurdle said. "We've pitched better than anything. Defensively we are second in the league with six errors, but we haven't played that well on defense the last two nights. We've got room for improvement. The game shows you where you need improvement as I've continued to say. We need to clean some things up."
Diaz has made the most of his opportunities this fall. Diaz has hit safely in all five of his starts and is hitting .479 (9-for-19) in those starts. His home run on Sunday was his second of the season and has impressed his manager.
"I see growth," Hurdle said. "I see more experience coming through the door. He knew the opportunity was there and he continues to work hard. He's done some good things and he put a good swing today on the ball he ran out of the ballpark."
HE SAID IT
"I think there has been more of passing the torch than ever before. You know, arms wide open. When I came up, there were a lot of arms that were not open to young players. Not that that was bad, but you needed to prove yourself and figure it out, just like they had to." -- Hurdle, on older players mentoring younger ones in the modern era
The Pirates, who have been unable to score three or more runs in eight of their last 10 games, return home after a brief four-game road trip to face the Tigers, who they swept on opening weekend. Chad Kuhl takes the mound on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET looking to build on a six-inning, one-run outing against Colorado. Starting for Detroit will be Jordan Zimmermann, who has allowed 10 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings.
** Mike Radano ** is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia.