Pirates’ Offense Stagnant, Lose To Giants In Extra Innings

By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
After winning their first home series of the season against the Washington Nationals, the Pirates welcomed the San Francisco Giants to town for a three-game set at PNC Park.  The Giants came into the series with a 10-11 record, while our Buccos came in at 10-12.  Pittsburgh sent Charlie Morton to the mound tonight, hoping for him to improve upon his last outing.
The Giants are known for their superb pitching, from the starting rotation through their bullpen.  As expected, it was a low scoring game tonight at PNC Park, and the Giants, as the better teams in the league usually do, pulled out a close game against the Pirates, 3-2 in extra innings.
Garrett Jones gave the Pirates the early lead in the second inning with a solo blast to deep center field.  It would be one of only five hits the Bucs would have the entire night.
Pittsburgh maintained the lead for the better half of the game, as Morton was pitching very effectively.  Charlie pitched six innings, giving up only one run on four hits, while walking three and striking out six, lowering his ERA to 3.00.  His only blemish came in the sixth inning, when Aaron Rowand led off with a double, and eventually scored on Aubrey Huff’s sacrifice fly, tying the game at that point, 1-1.
Lyle Overbay gave the Pirates the lead again in the bottom of the inning, scoring Matt Diaz from third base. 
From that point on, it was the Darren Ford show for San Francisco.  His speed, sheer athleticism, and ability to take advantage of Pirates’ defensive mistakes were the difference in the ballgame.  After stealing a base in the eighth inning to get himself over to third base, he tagged and scored on Buster Posey’s sacrifice fly to left field, tying the game at 2. 
Two innings later, in the 10th, after reaching base safely, Ford stirred up more trouble for the Buccos.  Joel Hanrahan’s pickoff attempt went wide of Overbay’s glove, allowing Ford to advance all the way to third base.  Then, on a weak ground ball off the bat of Freddy Sanchez to Neil Walker, after a short delay, Ford broke for home, beating Overbay’s throw to Chris Snyder.
After the Pirates went fairly quietly in the bottom of the inning, the Giants escaped with a 3-2 victory.
This was a frustrating game for the Pirates.  They certainly had opportunities, but simply couldn’t capitalize.  This is the type of game the Giants play, and their successful at winning these close games.  The Buccos managed only five hits against the Giants’ pitching staff, and the Pirates’ key players didn’t step up when given opportunities to do so.  Andrew McCutchen was 0-5 today, dropping his average to .222.  Pedro Alvarez was also held hitless and looked uncomfortable at the plate all night.  The Buccos’ inability to consistently put runs up on the board adds A LOT of extra pressure on the pitching staff to perform at a high level, night after night.  That’s asking a lot of a staff who was, on paper, supposed to be one of the worst in baseball.
The Pirates will look to bounce back against the Giants tomorrow evening at PNC Park.  James McDonald will make the start for Pittsburgh, hoping to improve upon his previous two outings. 
Record Vs. Giants: 0-1
Record Vs. N.L. West: 1-4
Record At Home: 3-7
Overall Record: 10-13
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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