The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to struggle to find a way to create a spark. The lineup hasn't been able to provide offense, while the bullpen, which was once a strength, has become a recent weakness. With 12 games remaining in the regular season, the collapse has pushed the club not only out of playoff reach, but possibly out of their first winning season in two decades.

"It seems like we’re just not coming together as a nucleus," first baseman Garrett Jones said. "Just hitting, pitching, for whatever reason. The timing of us coming together just hasn’t been happening over the past few weeks."

Rookie Jeff Locke gave the club the chance to win. Making his fourth start of the season, the left-hander allowed a three-run homer with two-outs in the first inning. After a one-out single an...

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