Former Pirate Brandon Moss slammed a two-run home run off Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole in the top of the fourth inning on Tuesday night, lifting the Oakland Athletics to their second straight 2-1 win over the Bucs at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The homer followed a double by Oakland’s John Jaso, giving the A’s 11 wins in 11 interleague matchups with the Pirates (53-36). Pittsburgh is 11-5 in interleague play this season. Entering Tuesday’s game, Pirates pitchers had allowed just one run in their last 100 innings at PNC Park.
Meanwhile, Oakland pitchers were holding the Bucs to just three hits. Starter Dan Straily (6-2; 4.28 ERA) worked 6-and-a-third innings, allowed just one run and two hits, struck out seven Pittsburgh hitters and walked three. Grant Balfour, who pitched the ninth inning, earned his 24th save in 24 opportunities.
Pedro Alvarez slammed his 23rd homer in the second inning. Starling Marte and Jose Tabata added singles for the only other Pittsburgh hits.
Cole (4-2; 3.68 ERA) surrendered two runs and five hits over seven innings, struck out four batters and walked two.
The start of the game was delayed by one hour and 42 minutes while officials awaited rains which never developed.
The Pirates have lost four in a row, and six of their last eight games, since they reached 51-30, the highest a Pittsburgh team had climbed above .500 since the last day of the 1992 season. They have fallen a game-and-a-half behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central Division. In the final game of the Oakland series on Wednesday night, the Bucs will start Francisco Liriano (8-3; 2.20 ERA), the last Pittsburgh starter to earn a win. Oakland (54-37) is expected to start Tommy Milone (8-7; 4.11 ERA).