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Pirates looking to break out offensively

Rob Biertempfel
| Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, 11:57 a.m.
After hitting at a torrid pace in June and July, Andrew McCutchen has slumped in late summer.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
After hitting at a torrid pace in June and July, Andrew McCutchen has slumped in late summer.

MILWAUKEE — Each of the past seven games between the Pirates and Brewers have been decided by two runs or fewer. The home team has won each one.

That's not good news for the Pirates, who are in an offensive rut — they've scored a total of four runs on 18 hits over the past three games, all losses. They haven't scored more than one run in an inning since Friday, when they got four runs (their entire output for the game) in the third inning against Blue Jays right Marcus Stroman. Not much as happened in 33 innings since then.

“The injuries play into it,” manager Clint Hurdle said during this morning's media scrum. “However, we've had opportunities to score. We don't have much of a safety net to play with; we haven't had one all year, even with (Gregory) Polanco or (Francisco) Cervelli in the lineup.

“The game we play, the kind of power we have, we need to move runners from second with no outs, we need to score runners from third with (fewer) than two outs, we need to play 27 outs on defense — it's all tied together.

“We had a big game in Detroit (on Friday). We have not regained that traction. Today's an opportunity to do it.”

Overall this season, the Pirates are 51-11 when they score four-plus runs in a game and 7-50 when they score three or fewer runs.

CERVELLI ON MEND

Hurdle was asked about Cervelli's status. “Ill use the word improving,” Hurdle said. “He went to hit in the cage (this morning), so I'll have more information as the day goes on.”

CHAMBERS HONORED

Pirates minor leaguer Evan Chambers, who died in his sleep in December 2013, was selected for the High-A Florida State League hall of fame. He will be the first former Brandenton player enshrined.

A third-round pick in 2009, Chambers batted .222 with a .713 OPS in 186 games with Bradenton. A center fielder, Chambers was promoted to Double-A Altoona in 2012. Bradenton retired his No. 53 in 2014.

TODAY'S GAME

2:10 p.m. at Miller Park, Milwaukee. TV: AT&T Sportsnet. Radio: Radio: 93.7 FM, 1450 AM, 1480 AM PIRATES (58-61): Starling Marte 7, Josh Harrison 4, Andrew McCutchen 8, Josh Bell 3, David Freese 5, Adam Frazier 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Chris Stewart 2, RHP Gerrit Cole (10-8, 3.96)

BREWERS (62-59): Eric Sogar 6, Neil Walker 4, Domingo Santana 9, Travis Shaw 5, Jesus Aguilar 3, Manny Pina 2, Hernan Perez 7, Keon Broxton 8 RHP Jimmy Nelson (9-6, 3.72)

Gamecast: Already the Bewers' all-time homer leader, Ryan Braun went into Tuesday's game two home runs shy of 300. There are 11 active players with 300-plus home runs. … Nelson ranks third in the NL with a 67.3 percent strike rate. The leader is Clayton Kershaw (68.5 percent). … In his last start on Friday vs. the Reds, Nelson worked 3.2 innings, yielded a career-worst 10 runs and tied his career-high with 11 hits allowed. … Cole is 3-3 with a 2.95 ERA In 10 career starts vs. the Brewers.

LOOKING AHEAD

>> THURSDAY, 7:05 p.m.: Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (12-5, 4.87) vs.

>> Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon (7-5, 4.50) FRIDAY, 7:05 p.m. at PNC

>> Park: Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez (9-9. 3.56) vs. Pirates RHP

>> Trevor Williams (5-5, 4.19) SATURDAY, 4:05 p.m. at PNC Park:

>> Cardinals RHP Michael Wacha (9-5, 3.85) vs Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl

>> (5-8, 4.64) SUNDAY, 7:08 p.m., MLB Little League Classic at Historic

>> Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa.: Cardinals RHP Mike Leake (7-11,

>> 3.88) vs. Pirates RHP Ivan Nova (10-10, 3.77)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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