The Bucs went down quietly to Madison Bumgarner in the first; all J-Mac yielded was a lead off walk to Andres Torres.
The Pirates made a little ruckus in the second when Derrek Lee singled and Dewey got another an out afterward. But two K's later, the hits came to naught. McDonald threw a clean frame.
In the third, Pittsburgh got a two-out double from Garrett Jones. The Giants threatened, but some sharp glovework saved the day.
Bumgarner walked with one out, and leadoff man Andres Torres hit a blooper into short left. Ryan Ludwick made a diving catch, popped back up and threw to first, doubling off the pitcher, who was standing on second base at the time. Oooops.
Pittsburgh went down in order in the fourth. Jeff Keppinger lined a double off the wall in left-center for the G-Men's first hit. Aubrey Huff doubled an out later, his liner barely clearing the mitt of a leaping Ronny Cedeno by no more than a couple of inches, and Keppinger scored to put the Giants up 1-0.
The Pirates were close in the fifth. Ronny Cedeno had doubled with an out and moved to third on a grounder when McCutch drilled a ball up the line. Third baseman Pedro Sandoval made a diving grab and threw out McCutchen.
McDonald tossed a first pitch fastball down and on the inside black to Chris Stewart in the fifth, and he smacked his first MLB homer to left field to up the San Fran lead to 2-0
The Bucs had another quiet inning in the sixth, with Neil Walker reaching on an error for the only action. J-Mac struck out the side in the sixth, but in between the whiffs Huff drove a changeup up and away into the seats in right field for his 11th home run of the season to make it 3-0.
In his six innings, J-Mac gave up three runs on four hits, with three walks, four Ks and 92 pitches thrown.
The Pirates got a leadoff walk and a couple of more K's for their effort in the seventh. Chris Resop came out and retired the Giants handily after an opening single by Orlando Cabrera.
Bumgarner left after that, after seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters, one shy of his career high, and allowing four hits and one walk before giving the ball to Sergio Romo.
Romo was looking to extend his streak of 31 straight batters retired, but McCutch had other plans, rattling the first pitch into the right field corner for a double. No prob; Romo started a new string, nailing the next three Buccos routinely.
The Giants victimized the Buc bullpen in the eighth. Jason Grilli started the frame with a whiff before Kung Fu Panda and Huff singled. In came Joe Beimel, and Nate Schierholtz grounded out to score Sandoval. Cody Ross' bloop into right scored Schierholtz. Ross went to second on the throw, then on to third when Ryan Doumit's throw went into center. Orlando Cabrera's single him home before D-Mac closed the frame, and by then it was 6-0 Giants.
Santiago Casilla took over in the ninth. The Bucs managed to load the bases thanks to two walks and an error, but McCutch went down swinging to end the evening.
Pittsburgh stranded ten runners, was 0-for-9 with RISP and only got two runners to third. One of their major concerns once again is just getting the ball in play; they struck out a dozen times tonight. Small ball teams need productive outs, and it's hard to concede four innings worth of at-bats to a pitcher.
The Pirates strikeout total is at 914, near the top of the NL in whiffs. The Pirates K'ed a franchise-high 1,207 times last year, and are on pace to top that this season. For a team that depends on stringing hits together to score, that's a stat that has to turn around. Three-run homer teams can survive a rash of whiffs; not so for the outfits that need to keep chipping away to score. For them, the strikeout is not just a wasted out, but an inning killer.
Jeff Karstens takes on Jonathan Sanchez this afternoon.
- The Bucs are still holding their own on the road; they're 29-28 after winning just 17 away games in 2010.
- The line from Ross Ohlendorf's rehab start at Indy on Tuesday: 6-1/3 innings, 8 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk and 3 K's on 102 pitches. He's due to come off the DL now, but has a couple of options remaining. After that outing, he may be removed from the DL and have an option burned to stay at Indy to work out the kinks.