Being competitive against the St. Louis Cardinals at this time of the year is usually not good enough and that’s what the Pirates found out in being swept by the Cardinals in a three game series. Two of the three games could have went the Pirates way but it was the Cardinals who would come away with the clutch plays, at-bats.
“They were just a little bit better than us every game,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “I mean, we’re playing competitive baseball. We’ve got to find a way to score a run every now and then when we’re out there and have some shutdown innings. We’re not going to back down.”
The killer for the Pirates was not taking Game 1 of the series when Gerrit Cole was on the mound in the seventh with a 4-2 lead. You just can’t lose that game with your ace on the mound.
The Pirates losers of four straight have now fallen five games out of the NL Central lead but they continue to stay right in the mix for the second wildcard spot.
The Brewers in free fall have lost eight straight, Pittsburgh trails Milwaukee by just two games for the last wildcard spot.
Pittsburgh is 4.5 games back of the surging San Francisco Giants for the top wildcard spot.
Starting Friday night in Chicago, the Pirates next 13 games are against teams below .500.
1. San Francisco Giants (76-64)
2. Milwaukee Brewers (73-66)
3. Atlanta Braves (73-67, .5 GB)
4. Pittsburgh Pirates (71-68, 2 GB)