Pedro Alvarez's 23rd home run was the Pirates' only extra-base hit. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Pirates lost 2-1 Tuesday night to the Oakland Athletics to drop their fourth-straight game and third-straight series loss. This fact is significant.

Over these three July series, Pittsburgh's offense has averaged a below-average 8.4 hits and 2.9 runs per game. This fact is more significant.

In the 2013 season, the offense has averaged 8.2 hits and 3.9 runs per game, both 12th in the 15-team National League. This fact is most significant.

As poorly as the Pirates' hitters have played since the team passed the halfway point with baseball's best record, the empty production should be no surprise. The team that has given up the fewest runs in baseball has at the same time run out an ...

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