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Huntington talks of hope amid ninth straight loss ☕


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Bryan Reynolds and Kevin Kramer leap in vain for a home run by the Brewers' Eric Thames, Sunday in Milwaukee. - AP

MILWAUKEE -- The long ball led to the Pirates' latest loss Sunday as the Brewers hit three home runs to complete the sweep at Miller Park, 4-3.

It was the Pirates' ninth straight loss, which matched their longest losing streak of the season. During that streak, they have allowed 87 runs. On the season, the Pirates' 5.27 staff ERA is the franchise's highest since 1900. For a team that was supposed to be carried by their pitching, it has been their detriment.

Neal Huntington met with reporters Sunday and began by discussing the state of the pitching staff in the wake of Felipe Vazquez's arrest. On the short term, he confirmed Keone Kela is the closer through the rest of the season. Of course, that is contingent on the Pirates taking a lead into the ninth sometime. The long term outlook is not as clear. Edgar Santana will return from Tommy John surgery, as will Chad Kuhl, who could theoretically be either a starter or a reliever.

After that, not much is known.

"We'll address the offseason as we get toward the offseason," Huntington said. "Look at free agency, look at trades as we look to build the bullpen for next year."

Throughout the season, Huntington has expressed his belief that the Pirates were not as far out of contention as they seemed. During those times, however, the team's former closer was not in a prison cell. Despite that, he reaffirmed his position.

"While it feels very far away, we do have some components we believe in, we do have some players that we believe in," Huntington said. "We also know that there are a lot of areas that we, as a group, can do better."

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