Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers allowed only three hits in the first game of a three-game interleague home series with the Oakland Athletics on Monday night, but the A’s took advantage of their few opportunities and posted a 2-1 win over the Bucs at PNC Park.
Josh Donaldson’s fourth-inning sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, and a bases-loaded walk to Derek Norris in the seventh gave Oakland a 2-0 lead. The Pirates’ lone score came on an RBI single by Jose Tabata in the bottom of the seventh. Pittsburgh’s rally attempt in that same inning ended abruptly when Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp made a diving catch to rob Andrew McCutchen of an extra base hit with two outs and two runners on base.
Tabata and Pedro Alvarez both recorded two of the Pirates’ nine hits, while Jed Lowrie went 2-for-4 for the Athletics (53-37).
Jeff Locke, the Pirates’ starter and one of four Pittsburgh All-Stars, suffered his second loss of the season. Locke (8-2; 2.15 ERA) allowed two runs and three hits over seven innings, striking out four batters and walking three. 40 year-old Bartolo Colon continued his amazing season by picking up his 12th win. Colon (12-3; 2.69 ERA) also worked seven innings, surrendered the one Pittsburgh run on seven Pirates hits, struck out five hitters and walked one. Grant Balfour earned his 23rd save.
Pittsburgh (53-35) has lost three in a row, and five of their last seven games after a nine-game winning streak put them 21 games above the .500 mark. They trail St. Louis by a half-game in the National League Central Division.
In the second game of the series on Tuesday night, the Pirates will send rookie Gerrit Cole (4-1; 3.94 ERA) against Oakland’s Dan Straily (5-2; 4.52 ERA).