The Pirates got off to another strong start in their second west coast series of the week, as they blasted the Giants in a long game late Thursday night/Friday morning.
Matt Cain had owned the Pirates in previous outings against them, but this time the Bucs were all over the San Francisco ace. Cain appeared off with his command early and the Pirates singled sharply three times in a row to lead off the game, plating a quick run. Garrett Jones (who finally showed some life with the bat!) and Jordy Mercer both crushed solo homers in the second – Jones’ went in to the Cove – his second water shot of the year in two different ballparks.
In the fourth, Gaby Sanchez knocked Cain out of the game with a sharp line drive off his throwing arm. He’s reportedly OK now, but it was certainly a frightening play. Even though the offense had been hitting well against Cain, getting in to the bullpen in the first game of a four game series is a good thing, and the Bucs did just that. They erupted in the fifth against some terrible San Fran relievers and scored SEVEN runs – more than they’ve gotten in entire series occasionally. The entire lineup contributed, but the big numbers came from Pedro Alvarez (two book rule doubles – one with the bases loaded off a LHP), Andrew McCutchen (2 for 3 plus two walks), and Jose Tabata (3 hits, including a bases clearing double, and a HBP to start the long inning). Very nice to see.
The only negative was Jeff Locke, who was not sharp…again. Jeff walked a batter in each of his four innings and was lucky to escape without more damage. The Pirates let him bat with two outs in the fifth and he singled…then didn’t come out to pitch after the seven run inning was complete. Very strange, but had it been a closer game it would have almost been a no brainer to take him out because he didn’t look good at all. Jeanmar Gomez picked him up with three hitless relief innings, and he’s certainly making a case for a start sometime soon…especially if Locke keeps this up.
Jared Hughes allowed things to get sloppy late, but Tony Watson cleaned it up for him. The Bucs cruised to a victory in the late innings and maintained a 1 game lead on St. Louis and a 2.5 game lead on Cincinnati – both winners earlier in the day.
Pirates 10, Giants 5 / Box / 2013 Record: 75-52 / Next: Friday, at Giants, 10:15