Andrew McCutchen's home run in the first inning Sunday ended the Pirates' 18-inning scoreless streak, but it wasn't enough to avoid a fourth consecutive loss.
After the first two series of the season, the Pirates have found baserunners hard to come by. They have eight runs in six games on only 21 hits.
Part of that has to do with the pitchers the Pirates have faced. They opened the season against the Chicago Cubs' Jeff Samardzija, who struck out 13 Sunday after dominating the Pirates on opening day. They faced two former Cy Young winners Friday and Saturday in Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, and Kershaw may be the hottest pitcher in baseball.
Manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates need to walk a fine line between understanding they faced elite pitching and eliminating their mistakes.
"The thing you also got to do is, you can't stick your head in the sand," Hurdle said. "You run through some at-bats and you see pitches that you had to hit, and you don't hit them.
"Let's be real, let's tip our cap when appropriate, but at the same time let's make sure we're doing everything we can to control our strike zone."