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PITTSBURGH — If one were to make a list of the former Pirates most likely to come back to haunt the team, Connor Overton wouldn’t have been at the top.

The right-hander had a cup of coffee with Pittsburgh last season, never pitching more than three frames and tossing a grand total of 8 2/3 innings in the black and gold.

On Thursday, now with the Cincinnati Reds, Overton shut down the Pirates. He pitched better than he has at any point in his MLB career, for sure, and perhaps better than he ever has in his professional career as a whole, minors included. He lasted 6 1/3 shutout innings, allowing just three hits all night. The Pirates mustered nothing more against Reds relievers, either, skidding to a 4-0 loss.

It was the Pirates’ third loss in four tries against the Reds, who have a league-low eight wins on the season.

The loss threw some cool water on what was a rather positive clubhouse Thursday afternoon. After all, his offensive effort came only one day after the Pirates had built momentum against the best team in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Wednesday, home runs powered them to an exciting, 5-3 victory, and a surprising series win.

Additionally, they got a morale boost with some new faces. Infielder Rodolfo Castro, the club’s No. 26-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was promoted before the game, and right-handed reliever Duane Underwood Jr., was activated from the 10-day injured list.

Both, however, contributed to the loss in one way or another. Castro finished 0-for-3 at the plate, most notably striking out looking with two outs and a runner on third in the bottom of the second. Underwood, meanwhile, was the hardest-hit pitcher on the night. He gave up two singles and two doubles in the top of the eighth, allowing two insurance runs to put the Reds further out of reach.

Every Pirates pitcher had thin margins in this game, though. Right-hander JT Brubaker got the start and lasted five innings, allowing two runs on just four hits and a pair of walks. His limited strife came in the second inning, when a hard-hit double from Mike Moustakas and a single from Tyler Stephenson opened the scoring, and in the fifth, when Stephenson ripped a solo homer to left.

But those limited threats from the Reds trumped anything the Pirates put together. In the first, they put two runners on with one out, but groundouts from Daniel Vogelbach and Yoshi Tsutsugo ended that.

In the second, they should have had runners on the corners with one out. Rookie right fielder Jack walked, then advanced to third on a single from catcher Michael Pérez. Reds right fielder Tyler Naquin bobbled that single, though, inviting Pérez to try his luck advancing to second. He was hosed down by a mile, setting up the aforementioned Castro strikeout.

The Pirates did not advance a runner into scoring position the rest of the game, going quietly to their shutout loss.

It extends an unfortunate trend for a team trying to tread water on the young season. The Pirates have won two games in a row just three times this season, and it hasn’t happened since April 22, nearly three weeks ago. This time, they were shut down by a former player. It just may not have been a former player anyone would have expected.

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