Starling Marte went hitless Tuesday night, and fans are focusing on his 9th-inning error. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

That was an awful way for the Pirates to lose. From dropped fly balls, to missed scoring chances, to standing still at third base, to not taking advantage of near-miraculous bullpen escapes...

But the result of Pittsburgh's 4-3 extra-innings loss to the Cardinals is very simple: instead of leading the National League Central by four games, they lead it by two games. That is the true result of dropping the series opener at St. Louis' Busch Stadium, as much as fans' hearts raced and collective blood pressure rose.

Man, did they have their chances though. The greatest role in the Pirates losing was going scoreless and collected only six hits in the final 12 innings.

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James dabbles in the baseballey-writey world. He won the SABR Analytics Conference Research Award for contemporary baseball analysis. It was for that defensive shifts piece, you remember that? Not a huge deal, he also lost a bunch of other awards. He has also written for, Pittsburgh Magazine, Pittsburgh Sports Report and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. By night, James is a television news reporter and weekend anchor for WKBN and WYTV in Youngstown, Ohio. Makes sense, seeing as how his degree from the University of Southern California is in Broadcast Journalism. James dispenses more bad jokes at his Twitter account, @JamesSantelli. It's there that he promises to write in the first-person.