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The story of the 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates has been if it isn’t one thing that has killed the Bucs chances this season, it’s something totally different the next day.

The inability to get a clutch hit cost the Pirates big time Tuesday night in Miller Park. On Wednesday it was the inability to keep the ball in the ballpark that cost the Pirates in a 7-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Pirates blew a 4-0 lead and also had leads of 5-4 and 6-5 through seven innings before Manny Pina‘s two-run homer off of Juan Nicasio in the eighth inning proved to be the deciding factor.

All in all the Brewers clubbed five home runs on the afternoon. Two of which cam from former Pirates outfielder Keon Broxton, who homered three times in the two-game series.

Another former Pirate Neil Walker and Travis Shaw also homered for the Brewers. Five of the Brewers eight hits on the day left the yard.

The Brewers remain in the National League Central race with their fourth straight win, while the Pirates saw their division hopes take a serious hit with their fourth consecutive loss. The Bucs now trail the division-leading Chicago Cubs by 5.5 games.

Gerrit Cole, who entered the game winning his last seven road starts allowed three homers. Cole gave up four runs and five hits in six innings, striking out nine and walking three.

The Bucs took a 1-0 lead in the first on Josh Bell‘s RBI single and led 4-0 after three on consecutive two-out RBI singles from  Andrew McCutchen, Bell and David Freese.

But Cole and the rest of the Pirates pitchers couldn’t keep the ball in the ballpark.

Josh Harrison gave the Pirates a 5-4 lead in the seventh with an RBI single but Broxton got that run back in the Brewers half of the seventh with his second homer of the day.

Bell led off the eighth with a triple and Adam Frazier gave the Bucs a 6-5 lead with an RBI single, but Pina connected of Nicasio in the bottom half of the frame to seal the deal for Milwaukee.

The Bucs will look to snap their four-game skid tonight when  Jameson Taillon (7-5) gets the start at home against St. Louis. The Cardinals will counter with Adam Wainwright (12-5, 4.87). Taillon is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in three career starts against the Cardinals.

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Where is the longball?

While the Brewers were busy Wednesday knocking the ball out of the park, The Bucs power has been drained.

This team wasn’t really built on power bats as our Nathan Hursh looked at yesterday.

But with the increase in homer runs across baseball, the Pirates clearly haven’t kept up with the trend and it has proven costly.

Currently the Pirates are 14th in the National League with just 111 homers on the season.

The Bucs hit only 25 homers in the month of July and so far in the month of August have a MLB low nine homers. Quite simply, that isn’t good enough and isn’t going to cut it.

They are also only slugging a terrible .329 in the month of August.

With Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte not providing any power this season and Jung-Ho Kang likely not coming back to the team, general manager Neal Huntington is going to have to find creative and cheap ways to add some pop to this Pirates lineup.

If he doesn’t, this Pirates team is going to continue to get out slugged by the opposition.

That is where the game is going. Huntington needs to realize that and act accordingly.

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Matt Shetler

Matt is a life long Pirates fan with both a newspaper and radio background. Before coming to Pirates Breakdown he was most recently the co-owner and lead columnist for Pittsburgh Sporting News. He has been a credentialed writer for all four major sports and also has written for plenty of other sports and fantasy sports websites.