San Francisco, CA – It’s a tough act to follow but the Giants fell to second place after 4-3 loss to Pirates. The Dodgers who were 0.5 games behind beat the Philadelphia Phillies and now lead the National West Division. San Francisco had been in first place since May 10th.
“A lot of baseball left, but we created this with our struggles more than anything,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “We know that, so you keep going. We’ve been through these funks and this has been a long one.”
The Pirates jumped to an early lead in the first frame. Starling Marte singled and stole second. Andrew McCutchen followed with a single putting two on in the corners. Gregory Polanco bunts, Samardzija scoops up the ball and throws home but was too late as Marte was ruled safe by the home plate umpire Marty Foster.
Pittsburg took a 1-0 lead and the Giants made sure to thwart any pans to add on to that. Jung Ho Kang hit into a double play to end the inning. By the bottom of the frame, San Francisco clapped back. Both Denard Span and Angel Pagan hit back-to-back doubles. Buster Posey cleared the bases with a RBI double and the Giants lead 2-1.
“It’s a long season,” Samardzija said. “There’s ups and downs. We have a bunch of professionals in here who play hard every day. We’re not looking at the stuff. We know there are 162 to play, and there toward the end is when it will all be determined. Hopefully, we’ll be playing our best baseball then.”
Samardzija unable to settle down gave up a leadoff double to Francisco Cervelli. John Jaso followed with a RBI double to tie the game 2-2. Jordy Mercer was issued a free pass and that’s when San Francisco’s manager Bruce Bochy came out to the mound. No movement in the bullpen so Samardzija got another opportunity and this time he got it right.
For the next two innings Samardzija retired six batters allowing not one hit. It became a pitching duel until the fourth when the Giants got on base with a double from Hunter Pence and a walk to Eduardo Nunez. Jameson Taillon required a coat while on first base after getting the first hit off Samardzija since the second frame.
Taillon has pitched 6.0 innings or more in each of his last six big league starts. Tonight he faired well against Samardzija. He recorded a quality outing in each of his last seven starts, going 2-1with 2.25 ERA. Tallinn also recorded his first Major League hit in the fifth with a one-out single.
McCutchen broke the tie when he led off the sixth with a triple and scored on a RBI ground out by Polanco to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Samarazija retired the next three batters to end the frame. Taillon on the other hand got himself into a jam. He surrendered a single to Posey and a double to Brandon Crawford in the sixth.
Pence grounded out and scored in Posey to tie the game 3-3. Samardzija finished the night tossing six frames, allowing three runs, one walk and stick out five. The bullpen took over and yielded a solo home run to Kang giving Pittsburg a 4-3lead in the eighth. By the ninth the Giants put two on with the tying run at third.
Pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco hit a single and Joe Panik followed with a double. The sellout crowd stood to their feet in hopes of a comeback victory. Instead no one could drive in any runs. Closer Tony Watson forced Ehire Adrianza to pop out and Span to ground out to end the game with San Francisco out of first place.
“They got the big hit; we couldn’t,” said Bochy