PITTSBURGH – This was the baseball equivalent of a gimme putt but somehow the Pittsburgh Pirates had it lip out.
The Pirates not only had their best pitcher on the mound Tuesday night but were facing the team with the worst record in baseball and a pitcher who was 0-6 with a 9.82 ERA this season.
Yet the Pirates lost to the Oakland Athletics 11-2 at PNC Park, ending their six-game winning streak. The Athletics “improved” to 13-50 while breaking their 15-game losing streak and dropping the Pirates to 32-28.
Athletics second baseman Jace Peterson went 5 for 5 with two home runs and five RBIs.
Pirates starter Mitch Keller (7-2) allowed five runs and eight hits in 5.1 innings. Keller walked four and struck out only one as his club-record string of seven starts in a row with at least eight strikeouts ended.
James Kaprielian (1-6) won for the first time since his final start of last season while holding the Pirates to two runs (one earned) and four hits in six innings. He had five walks and only one strikeout but lowered his ERA to 7.21.
The Athletics chased Keller and broke a 2-2 tie with a three-run six inning.
Aledmys Diaz led off with a single and JJ Bleday walked then the runners moved to second and third on Shea Langeliers’ groundout. Peterson then grounded a single into right field to score Diaz with the go-ahed run and knock Keller out of the game.
Yohan Ramirez relieved Keller and Bleday came home on Jonah Bride’s single. Eustery Ruiz drove in the last run of the inning with a fielder’s choice grounder.
The Athletics broke it open in the final two innings with three two-run home runs off Chase De Jong. Peterson connected in both innings and Brent Rookie also went deep in the eighth.
The Pirates opened the scoring with a run in the first inning. Tucupita Marcano hit a leadoff double and scored when Peterson mishandled Jack Swuinski’s ground ball for an error.
Marcano’s double was the only of the Pirates’ six hits to go for extra bases.
Langeliers hit a solo home run to the shrubbery to center field in the second. An inning later, Ryan Noda doubled and scored on Seth Brown’s double to put the Athletics ahead 2-1.
The Pirates tied it in the fifth when Josh Palacios drove in a run with a fielder’s choice.
Roansy Contreras (3-4, 4.82) will start for the Pirates against rookie left-hander Hogan Harris (0-0, 6.97) at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday in the rubber game of the three-game series. Contreras hasn’t won since April 26.