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Hurdle’s ‘gamble’ after another short start leads to 8-4 loss


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Yadier Molina slaps hands with Kolten Wong after scoring in the third inning Saturday. - AP

Adam Frazier stayed behind the slider from Cardinals starter Austin Gomber and lined the ball into the gap in left-center for a two-run double, igniting a roar from the 32,473 fans at PNC Park. That effortless, compact swing tied the score to cap a three-run fourth inning in which the Pirates' surging offense overcame a third consecutive short start from the rotation.

The crowd was quiet not long after, though. Right-hander Alex McRae, a rookie right-hander with a 1.59 WHIP as a starter in Triple-A this season, was tagged for three runs, including two in the fifth, and the Pirates managed only one hit the rest of the game, as they lost to the Cardinals, 8-4, Saturday night.

Ivan Nova pitched only four innings and the Pirates' past three starters — including Chris Archer — have lasted a total of 9 1/3 innings, giving Hurdle few options with the score tied and sole possession of third place on the line. His decision to give the ball to McRae exposed a glaring hole on the roster that neither he nor Neal Huntington may have an answer for.

[caption id="attachment_672947" align="aligncenter" width="440"] TAP ABOVE FOR BOXSCORE, STANDINGS, VIDEO[/caption]

"We’re doing what we can," Hurdle would say afterwards.

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