PITTSBURGH -- With a week to go until the July 31 Trade Deadline, asking prices are still high, general manager Neal Huntington said.

"We're absolutely motivated to help this club," Huntington said. "We're just not motivated to do something stupid or foolish. This club deserves something to help them, but at this point the acquisition costs are just so high that it's been a challenge. Will that change in the next week? Probably."

Among other things, Huntington said that the Pirates' unique position gives other teams extra bargaining power, as the Bucs look to stay successful through the rest of the season.

"I think the fact that we're in a pennant race, that we're on pace to break an 18-year streak, that the fans are coming out in droves; if I were in [other clubs'] shoes, I'd be looking to leverage that as much as I could," he said.

Trade Include

In trying to acquire players, especially on offense, barriers so far have included no-trade clauses, teams' unwillingness to trade players and the inability to come to agreements on the value of a trade.

The Pirates have outscored their opponents 378-375 this season, but have rarely scored by way of home run. In contrast, St. Louis won both Friday and Saturday's games with home runs.

"This series is a punch in the gut with a lack of power," Huntington said. "It shows you the value of power. If you don't have it, you don't have it. And that's where you construct a lineup that allows you to create some runs, whether it's scoring from first on balls we're not supposed to score on, putting pressure on the defense, advancing bases. We've got to be creative on how we score runs and we can't just magically create power.

"Would you love power in the middle of your lineup? Absolutely. We might have the best power bat available to us in Pedro [Alvarez], as soon as we can get him right and get him up here. Outside of that, the acquisition cost for power, because there aren't many good bats on the market, is prohibitive at this time."

Presley may land on DL with thumb contusion

PITTSBURGH -- Alex Presley was held from a second straight game on Sunday with a left thumb contusion, and may have to go on the disabled list, general manager Neal Huntington said.

Presley said that he had X-rays on the thumb which showed no serious injuries. He added that the problem was with a nerve in the thumb, but did not specify.

"We're going to continue to get further evaluations on him and we're going to get further workups on him," Huntington said. "He does sit in that magical 7-to-10 day window where we may need to disable him and bring a healthy body in here to keep us moving forward."

Presley was scratched from Saturday's lineup after feeling discomfort when swinging the bat. The injury occurred during Friday's game, he said. His treatment so far has consisted of ice and rest.

"There's nothing you can do [but] just wait it out," Presley said. "I'll be back as soon as I can swing normally."

Third baseman Chase d'Arnaud took Presley's place at the top of the lineup on Saturday and went 2-for-4 with two singles. He was back in that spot on Sunday.

Tabata to take a break from game activity

PITTSBURGH -- After several setbacks in his rehab process, injured outfielder Jose Tabata will take a break from game activity as he works his way back from a strained left quad.

Tabata returned to Pittsburgh on Saturday to have his injury examined by Pirates' doctors.

"Jose's had some lingering tightness that's impacted his ability to go out and to play," general manager Neal Huntington said. "So we felt it was best for us and for him to come up here and to see our medical team firsthand and let them get their hands on him, let them do the evaluations and studies that they needed to do."

Tabata, who went on the disabled list on June 28 with a left quad strain, felt tightness in his quad while playing with Class A Bradenton on July 15. He left that game early and has not played since. He was expected to play on July 18, but the tightness was still there.

"We need to be smart about it and not push through and risk a further injury," Huntington said. "We need to take the time, as hard as it is right now, to get him truly healthy."

Hurdle wants pitchers to be more aggressive

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said that his starters need to be more aggressive against talented National League Central lineups.

Paul Maholm allowed five earned runs to the Cardinals on Friday and Kevin Correia allowed seven on Saturday, the first time that Bucs' starters had allowed five or more runs in back-to-back games since April.

"We haven't matched up well here," Hurdle said. "We haven't gotten out of the blocks, pitching-wise."

The pitchers have been relying too much on one side of the plate, Hurdle said.

"You've got to be able to get outs inside," Hurdle said. "You've got to be able to get strikes inside. You've got to get people to honor that part of the plate. And we haven't done a very good job of that the past two nights."

Starting pitching has been the team's strength all season. Pirates starters entered Sunday ranked fifth in the National League with an ERA of 3.42. But St. Louis, Cincinnati and Milwaukee -- who the Pirates play a combined 27 more times this season -- all rank in the top five in runs scored.

"We've faced good lineups throughout the season," Hurdle said. "We've got to pitch with conviction. We've got to take ownership of both sides of the plate and do a better job."