The latest display of futility from the Pirates' offense could be measured by a few inches. That's the difference between home plate and Adeiny Hechavarria's fingertips when the shortstop was tagged out by Kurt Suzukito end a seventh inning rally Monday night at PNC Park.
That's as close as they came to avoiding a third one-run shutout loss in the past week, as the Braves needed only one run in the first inning to win, 1-0, in the series opener. The Pirates had only seven hits, saw another inning end with a runner thrown out at home and their record dropped to 63-63, six games back in the wild card standings.
It spoiled the pitching staff's latest immaculate performance, though they lost their prized trade deadline acquisition after only four innings.
Chris Archer, making his fourth start with the Pirates, was removed as a precaution after suffering a left leg injury while swinging a bat in the third inning. Although Archer again struggled with efficiency, he showed signs of being the front line starter Neal Huntington sought for this playoff push and beyond.
"I felt good the whole game," Archer said. "They did a good job putting some good pitches in play. Overall, I felt good. Again, trending in the right direction. Wish I could have stayed out there, but I think we did the right thing."
[caption id="attachment_679563" align="aligncenter" width="440"]TAP ABOVE FOR BOXSCORE[/caption]