Joaquin Arias banged a single to right to open the second; so far Ground Chuck's balls are being hit in the dirt, but not to any infielder. Nick Noonan bounced to third for a force, and Cain moved him to second on a two-strike swinging bunt. He fell behind Gregor Blanco 2-0, then he took a two seamer down and away opposite the shift (why do guys throw outside against a shift on the pull side?) to make it 2-0 and quickly stole second. Brandon Crawford popped out to Pedro to end the frame. Garrett Jones started the Bucco half with a walk. He was erased as Neil Walker banged into a 6-4-3 DP. Pedro whiffed to send it to the third.
With an out, Pence legged out a soft roller to the right side and stole second; Morton and McKenry might not be the best combo to put together as a battery. But he came back to pick up another pair of whiffs (same guys, too - Brandon Belt and Andres Torres) to keep it 2-0. The Bucs went down in order with a couple of balls hit to the warning track in right.
Arias opened with an infield knock to third; Ground Chuck hasn't had a whole lot of luck tonight. But Noonan banged his next pitch to second, and the 4-6-3 twin killing cleared the sacks. Cain whiffed to end the Giant fourth. The Pirates went down quietly again.
With an out, Crawford got plunked for the second time. Posey hit a ground rule double that bounced over the Notch on a 3-2 pitch, freezing Crawford at third. All the pitches he saw were two seamers on the inside corner; probably the battery could have tried a slider away at some point. They got the break back; a bouncer by Pence caught Crawford in a rundown; he left the baseline by a couple of steps into the infield grass, veered back and stuck an elbow into Pedro (who shouldn't have been where he was on the line without the ball) and was awarded the run on interference. Pedro was guilty; the question is whether Crawford was out of the baseline, and the umps decided in his favor.
Belt got beaned to load the bases, and another run came home on a sac fly as the game was beginning to get away. Another odd play, a grounder that hit Pence, ended the inning, and it was 4-0 San Fran. Jones got the first Buc hit with a single; Walker followed with his second DP of the night. Pedro walked. McKenry gave the crowd a brief moment of hope before his fly was corralled in front of the Notch. Charlie Morton was done after five, giving up four runs (two earned) on seven hits, one walk, three HBP and five K after 86 pitches. Mike Zagurski took the ball in the sixth.
Noonan dropped a bunt for base hit and went to second when Walker threw the ball away. An out later, Blanco singled up the middle to make it 5-0, and Crawford followed with a liner to center to put G-Men on the corners. Posey hit one to the left side that Mercer got to but couldn't convert to make it 6-0. Pence homered. Belt blooped a double to short left. The Z-Man got the next pair, but it was 9-0, and the Fat Lady was gargling. The Pirates went down 1-2-3.
Ryan Reid toed the rubber for the seventh. He almost pitched a clean frame, but a two out, 3-2 heater down the middle was slammed for a double by Blanco, followed by a four pitch walk, but he escaped scoreless. With an out, Cutch got ahead 3-0, took a fastball and then drilled another into left for a double. Walker was HBP with two down on Cain's 100th pitch, and Javier Lopez came in to match up with Pedro. El Toro drew a four pitch walk. RHP Jean Machi took the ball to face The Fort and got him swinging, chasing a curve that hit in the middle of the opposite batter's box.
Reid worked the eighth, giving up a two out infield single. Machi struck out the first two Bucs looking (for what, we have no idea) and finished with a tapper back to the mound. Vin Mazzaro took his turn in the ninth, and he began by giving Nick Noonan a 3-2 fastball down Broadway that came within a review of being a homer; it was ruled a double. A looper put runners on the corners, and a sac fly brought home another run. Jeremy Affeldt took the pill. he gave up a lead off hit to travis Snider, but a K and DP ended the game quickly enough.
The Pirates had it all going on tonight - they couldn't hit, field, or pitch after Charlie Morton left. Morton got a lot of grounders without much help behind him (the Pirates committed three errors, not counting mental ones, while the Giants had five infield singles), and we're sorta surprised that with an extreme ground ball guy that Clint Barmes didn't start. Injuries are starting to stress the bullpen. As for Cain, his slider was nice and his change up OK, but he left plenty of fastballs up that the Bucs should have squared up on, but didn't. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.
Jeff Locke takes on Stephen Fife tomorrow as the Dodgers come to town.
- The Pirates gave up a season high 17 hits tonight.
- The Giants scored five runs on Mike Zagurski on his first ten pitches against six batters.
- The attendance wasn't bad considering the weather; 22,532 showed up tonight.
- About an hour before game time, the Pirates announced that Alex Presley would replace Starling Marte in the lineup. Marte felt discomfort in his left rib cage, and his status is day-to-day. Sheesh, who next? They still don't expect JT back for at least 10 more days, if not longer.
- The Giants' reliever George Kontos had a tough day. After being suspended three games for plunking Cutch, he was sent to the minors.
- Danny Knobler of CBS Baseball Insider looks at underappreciated catchers, and has Russell Martin high on the list.
- Jeanmar Gomez made his first rehab start for Indy. He went three IP, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks, whiffing three and tossing 64 pitches.
- OF Gregory Polanco, 21, was promoted to Altoona after putting up a line of .312/.364/.472 at Bradenton, with six homers, 30 RBI, 29 runs and 24-of-28 stolen bases. He's another of Rene Gayo's Latino fast trackers and could be a Pirate by the summer of 2014 if the learning curve in the higher levels doesn't prove too steep.
- There will be a strong Pittsburgh connection for the AL in this year's All-Star game: Jim Leyland is the manager, and Tiger coaches Gene Lamont (bench), Lloyd McClendon (hitting) and Rafael Belliard (first base), his Detroit staffers, will be along for the ride.