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MLB Team Report - Pittsburgh Pirates - INSIDE PITCH
ST. LOUIS -- Last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates made the playoffs for the first time since 1992 largely because of pitching and defense.
But offense is the basic nourishment by which teams win, and right now, Pittsburgh is dying of malnutrition.
Friday night's 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Busch Stadium marked the 14th time in 24 games that the Pirates have scored less than four runs. In those games, they are 2-12, which largely explains their 9-15 record.
More galling was that they couldn't even get well against Shelby Miller, who entered the game 0-5 with a 5.93 earned-run average against Pittsburgh in his short career. Miller worked 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win, getting help from a defense that converted a pair of hard-hit balls into inning-ending double plays.
"He got lucky, really," center fielder Andrew McCutchen said of Miller.
Already 8 1/2 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central, the Pirates could use some luck. And some runs.
MLB Team Report - Pittsburgh Pirates - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost four
NEXT: Pirates (LHP Francisco Liriano, 0-3, 4.22 ERA) at Cardinals (LHP Tyler Lyons, 0-1, 3.00 ERA)
--RHP Gerrit Cole was a tough-luck loser Friday night, allowing six hits and the game's only run in seven solid innings. Cole walked three, hit one and fanned four, but held St. Louis to one hit in 11 at-bats with men in scoring position. It was his 12th quality start in 13 games, dating back to Aug. 16, 2013.
--LHP Francisco Liriano is still searching for his first win this season, and will make his sixth start on Saturday against the Cardinals. Liriano took a 6-1 loss on April 5 to St. Louis at PNC Park, allowing four runs over six innings. He mastered the Cards last year, going 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA, and he is 4-1 (1.95 ERA) in five career starts against them. Liriano has yet to flash the consistent low-to-mid 90s velocity he showed last year.
--RHP Jason Grilli (strained left oblique) wasn't available Friday night, although he didn't go on the disabled list, as multiple media outlets reported. Grilli has experienced a rough start to 2014, blowing three of seven save chances with an ERA of 4.50. It's not known when Grilli will be able to pitch again.
--C Russell Martin (left hamstring) left the game in the sixth inning after experiencing tightness while running out a grounder to third. The team said Martin would undergo treatment and be evaluated later to see if he could play Saturday. Martin was 0-for-3 with a strikeout, dropping his average to .242.
--LF Jose Tabata went 2-for-4 in a spot start as manager Clint Hurdle gave regular Starling Marte most of the game off. Tabata is hitting .330 in 27 games at Busch Stadium and has hits in 25 of those games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The pitchers are doing what they are supposed to do. We know the offense is going to come around." -- Manager Mike Matheny, after the Cardinals beat the Pirates 1-0 Friday. St. Louis has scored just 14 runs over the last eight games.
MLB Team Report - Pittsburgh Pirates - ROSTER REPORT
--RHP Jason Grilli (strained left oblique) wasn't available April 25, although he didn't go on the disabled list, as multiple media outlets reported. It's not known when Grilli will be able to pitch again.
--C Russell Martin (left hamstring) left the April 25 game in the sixth inning after experiencing tightness while running out a grounder to third. The team said Martin would undergo treatment and be evaluated later to see if he could play April 26.
--LHP Wandy Rodriguez (right knee inflammation) was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 21. Rodriguez underwent an MRI examination that showed no structural damage but he did have fluid drained from the knee. The Pirates have no timetable for his return. He will not begin throwing off a mound again until he is pain free.
LHP Francisco Liriano
RHP Charlie Morton
RHP Gerrit Cole
RHP Edinson Volquez
RHP Brandon Cumpton
RHP Jason Grilli (closer)
RHP Mark Melancon
LHP Tony Watson
LHP Justin Wilson
RHP Bryan Morris
RHP Stolmy Pimentel
RHP Jeanmar Gomez
1B Ike Davis
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
3B Pedro Alvarez
INF Gaby Sanchez
INF Clint Barmes
INF/OF Josh Harrison
LF Starling Marte
CF Andrew McCutchen
RF Travis Snider
OF Jose Tabata