The Oakland A’s pushed their all-time record to 10-0 against the Pittsburgh Pirates by downing the Bucs 2-1 in the opening contest of their three-game series Monday night at PNC Park. It was Pittsburgh’s third straight defeat.
The loss snapped the Pirates’ eight-game winning streak in interleague play and dropped their overall record to 53-35. They now trail the Cardinals by a half-game for first place in the National League Central. St. Louis was idle on Monday.
Oakland starter Bartolo Colon improved his record to 12-3 on the season. The 40-year-old righthander scattered seven hits, gave up just one run, walked one and struck out five over seven innings of work. The 40-year-old hurled 78 of his 108 pitches for strikes.
Righthander Ryan Cook answered the call to the bullpen in the eighth for the A’s and reliever Grant Balfour pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his 23rd save.
In the top of the fourth, Josh Donaldson drove a sacrifice fly to center that scored Jed Lowrie to give Oakland a 1-0 lead. The A’s added the winning run in the top of the seventh when with two out, Derek Norris drew a walk with the bases loaded to score Donaldson.
Jose Tabata finally got the Bucs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh when he hit a two-out infield single to third that scored Clint Barmes. It closed the gap to 2-1 against Oakland.
Next up, Andrew McCutchen tried to add to the scoreboard with a hard liner to center, but it was Coco Crisp who took care of business and made a diving catch to end the inning and snuff out the Pirates rally.
Pirates starter Jeff Locke saw his record drop to 8-2 this season. He pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on just three hits. The young lefthander walked three and struck out four on the evening. It was the first loss for Locke since his first start of the season back on April 10.
McCutchen extended his batting streak to 10 games on Monday night. Pedro Alvarez had two singles and has has hit safely in six straight games and 18 of his last 20.
The middle game of the series will be at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday. Oakland (53-37) will send righthander Dan Straily (5-2, 4.52 ERA) to the hill while the Pirates will counter with righthander Gerrit Cole (4-1, 3.94 ERA).
Cole, the Bucs’ first selection and the first pick overall in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, has given up just one home run in his first five big league starts. The game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: Starling Marte has swiped multiple bases five times this season and his 27 stolen bases are the most by a Pirates player before the All-Star break since Tony Womack had 31 back in 1998…Tabata has multi-hit games in four of his last five contests…It should be noted that while Jason Grilli has been named to his first MLB All-Star team, he also participated in the 1999 MLB All-Star Futures Game in Boston…Travis Snider has reached base safely in each of his last 11 starts…Attendance was 23,743, the first home crowd under 30,000 in the Pirates’ last 10 games.