The Pirates answered. Starling Marte hit a slow roller to third and ended up on second thanks to a single-and-error. Jordy Mercer dumped a fly into right to put Bucs on the corners, and Cutch lined a single up the middle to score the run. Gaby Sanchez hit a fly to medium center; Mercer tried to tag to third and was tossed out on a strike. Pedro popped out, and we had a tie game.
A walk and a single put Liriano in another hole to start the second, but a quick 1-6-3 DP and comebacker ended that without any damage while the Pirates went down in order. The Giants went down quietly in the third; not so the Bucs.
Marte and Mercer led of with singles and Cutch brought them both home with a double. Gaby followed with another knock to put runners on the corners, and a Russell Martin 6-4-3 DP added another run to make it 4-1 after three frames. Pence opened the fourth with a double, drilling a 1-2 slider that hung to left. A weak one out roller by Brandon Belt went for a knock, and a sac fly by Juan Perez halved the lead. The Bucs went down 1-2-3.
Torres singled to right with one gone in the fifth; the Giants are making Liriano work. After a couple of pick-off tries, Tony Abreu smacked a change on the outside black into center to put G-Men at first and second. The Cisco Kid caught Buster Posey looking, but lost Pence on five pitches, maybe working around him, to load the bases. He got squeezed a bit on a couple of pitches on the outside black and came back with a two seamer pretty much down the middle to Joaquin Arias, who lined it into center for a two-out knock to tie the game in the fifth. And he's over 80 pitches, so we'll see how that plays.
Marte opened with a single up the middle and stole second. Mercer singled to right to put Bucs on the corners. But the 8-for-8 streak ended when Cutch was called out on a 50-50 pitch on the inside corner. Gaby took a four pitch walk. Martin drilled one to first; the Giants couldn't turn the DP, and the Bucs were back up 5-4. Pedro doubled on a rope to right to bring another run in and put Bucs at second and third. That was it for Zito; lefty Jose Mijares came on to face The Kid, who poked a heater to right for two more points, and the Pirates were up 8-4. Brandon Inge hit a ball pretty well to left, but the park held it to end the frame. And with threatening skies; more good news is that it's now an official game.
Juan Perez started the sixth with a single; this isn't one of Frankie's better days on the hill. But for the second time, he got Brandon Crawford to bounce back to the mound to start a 1-6-3 DP and save his own bacon. Another weak roller closed the inning. That was The Cisco Kid's curtain call. He went six, giving up four runs on eight hits with three walks and two K, tossing 91 pitches.
Alex Presley hit for him and lined a Ramon Ramirez fastball into the right field stands for his first homer of the year. Marte followed with his fourth hit of the night, and stole second an out later. He came in on Gaby's double to center, followed by Martin's four pitch walk. Pedro got under a 2-0 fastball and flew out to center, and it's now 10-4, good buddies.
Justin Wilson took the bump in the seventh, with Presley staying in to man RF. After an out, Abreu fouled off four pitches and took an elevated 98 MPH fastball to center for a knock. Wilson tossed a cutter in on Posey's hands, and he fought it off enough to dump a soft single to center. Pence hit into a force, scoring Abreu from second when the Bucs couldn't turn the DP on Mercer's throwing error on the pivot, and Arias then singled him home. Wilson could have escaped with a goose egg with a little luck, but he's been leaving everything up and paying a price. Belt got fastballs down the middle, and drilled the third one into left for a knock. Wilson finally got Perez on a grounder to end the frame, and the score is still comfortable at 10-6.
Walker led off with a double high off the Clemente Wall. Clint Hurdle threw the challenge flag, arguing it was a homer. Replay showed it hitting off a seat, not the railing, and bouncing back into play, and the umps gave it to him to get a run back in a hurry. Garrett Jones grabbed a bat with Presley on deck, and Ramirez was hooked for southpaw Javier Lopez. He got the two lefties, and was yanked for RHP Sandy Rosario to match with Marte, and he got him swinging on three pitches.
Tony Watson toed the rubber in the eighth, and Crawford greeted him with a single. With two down, Abreu drove a sinker at the knees into right for a two bagger to leave Giants at second and third, and they both came in when Posey blooped a parachute into right. Say this for the Giants; they don't crush the ball, but they keep it play and spray it all over the yard, making you defend every inch. Tony got Pence to pop out, and now it's a more interesting game than it should be at 11-8.
Cutch banged a one-out infield knock to short and Gaby followed with a grounder up the middle to put Pirates on the corners. Martin tapped out softly to the left side, scoring Cutch and moving Sanchez to second, where he remained. Jason Grilli, who hasn't worked in four days, got the call to finish out the game. Jason wasn't being subtle; he threw 12 straight fastballs and got a fly out, ground out and K to tuck the Giants away.
Well. 20 runs on 33 hits; this is about as good of an example of regression as it gets. The hitters picked up their numbers, moving from the bottom toward the norm while the pitchers did the reverse, smoothing their unsustainable stats toward league average. And geez - how do the Giants stay in contention with pitching like this?
Charlie Morton goes for the sweep against Matt Cain tomorrow night.
- The first four guys in the order - Starling, Jordy, Cutch and Gaby - went 13-for-19 with eight runs scored and four RBI, a walk and two stolen bases. The Kid also had a nice night, going 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run.
- Starling Marte had his first career four-hit game, going 4-for-5. Neil Walker was the last Buc to go 5-for-5, and did it a couple of times last season.
- Tonight set the season highs in runs with 12 and hits with 18 for the Bucs.
- Tonight's attendance was 19,966.
- This is the second straight game the Pirates have knocked a former Cy Young winner out of the game in the fifth inning. It was Tim Lincecum last night, then Barry Zito tonight.