Gaby led off the second with a walk; a foul pop and 6-4-3 DP closed that door quickly. Hunter Pence beat a shift, rolling a soft single through the 2B hole. He was erased stealing; a good throw and a quick tag bought the Bucs a call. Pablo Sandoval was hit by a back foot curve in the back foot (where else?), but a pair of grounders ended the frame routinely. The Bucs went down 1-2-3 in the third. Bumgarner helped his own cause by slapping a broken bat single into right. He was erased on a Henry Blanco force, and a pop up later, he was nailed stealing on a beautiful throw by Martin on a bang-bang play that Blanco heatedly disputed. Bruce Bochy took up the argument between frames, even though slo-mo showed the ump got the call right.
Jordy Mercer started the fourth with a knock into left. He was cut down at second on a force that should have been a DP ball by Cutch; 1B Brandon Belt dropped the relay. Perfect guests, the Bucs didn't take advantage.
But the Giants would use a Bucco misplay to take the lead. With an out, Buster Posey hit a slicer to right center for a double, and went to third on a wild pitch. A bouncer to third froze him. Panda was walked in a work-around. Morton looked to escape the jam when Roger Kieschnick hit a pop into left, but neither Barmes, playing the lefty to pull, nor JT could get there and Mercer, making his first pro start at third, was turned around and the ball dropped for a hit to make it 1-0.
Josh Harrison opened the fifth with a knock. Neil Walker tried to bunt for a base hit; it didn't work though it did advance Josh. It brought up the 8-9 batters, Barmes and Morton, and they both popped out. Charlie tossed a clean frame. In the sixth, JT whiffed, then Jordy drove a ball to straight center that was hauled in a step or two from the wall. Cutch lined a single up the middle. It looked good when Martin got ahead 3-0, but he then watched three strikes go by without waving the stick. Morton was in cruise control, and after six frames had retired seven straight Giants since that missed pop up.
The Buc bomb squad came through in the seventh. Gaby and Josh both singled and were moved up a station by Walker's bunt. Barmes got a breaking ball below the knees and maybe on the inside black, kept his leg up and hands in to bang the pitch up the LF line for a three run homer. Not only did the Pirate part-timers pick up the Bucs, but Barmes' homer allowed Charlie to stay in the game, as the pen was heating and Tony Sanchez had a bat in his paws before the blast. Panda started the G-Man frame with a hard one hopper that came up and off of Barmes. No prob; A pop out and 6-4-3 DP cleaned the inning up nicely, and Chuck is at just 74 pitches.
The Bucs had a chance to add in the eighth. Mercer missed banging one of the foul pole by inches to open before whiffing, then the Bucs drew three straight walks. But Cutch was picked off first, and defensive sub Felix Pie's hot shot up the middle was gloved by Brandon Crawford, cheating toward the bag against the lefty. Morton got the first pair of Giants out routinely, then left a curve over the plate that Crawford took into the RF corner, a liner that barely got over Gaby's mitt. That was it for Charlie, who went 7-2/3 IP, giving up a run on seven hits with a walk and three K, tossing just 83 pitches. Tony Watson came in to face Brandon Belt. It took Tony three pitches to sit him down on strikes.
Santiago Casilla got three grounders to tuck away the Bucs in the ninth. Mark the Shark took the bump to face the middle of the San Francisco order. The first two batters showed how funny a game baseball can be: Posey hit into a 395' out while Pence followed with a 45' single. But a bouncer and whiff later, the Bucs had the last laugh and a 3-1 victory.
Charlie's curve was a swing-and-miss pitch today, he generated a lot of soft contact and his control continued to be pretty impressive as he's cementing his spot as the Bucs' number three pitcher. And it also shows the problems Pittsburgh has trying to load up against lefties. Clint Hurdle used an all RH lineup, with the four and five guys being Russ Martin (.246, 11 HR) and Gaby Sanchez (.240, 7 HR). That's not exactly a stacked middle of the lineup, but looks like the one the Pirates will live with.
Francisco Liriano takes on Tim Lincecum tomorrow night.
- Andrew McCutchen had his 49th multi-hit game of the year and is tied for the league lead.
- Russ Martin leads the MLB with 26 caught stealings this season.
- Starling Marte has missed five straight games and the Bucs still aren't certain he can bat even as a pinch hitter, so he may be DL bound.
- Jason Grilli is scheduled to pitch another side session Sunday and then a simulated game Wednesday. The goal is to build him up to 25 pitches as a one-inning guy.
- The Cards won and the Reds lost, so the Pirate lead is one game over St. Louis and 3-1/2 over Cincinnati.
- Luis Heredia went five scoreless innings for West Virginia, giving up three hits, two walks and K'ing six in a 4-2 win.