AT&T PARK — In the fifth inning of the San Francisco Giants’ 10-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night, Brandon Belt produced the type of base-running gaffe that likely would have made Bruce Bochy shout — that is, if he hadn’t already been ejected for doing just that.
After Buster Posey drove a tailing liner into center field, Andrew McCutchen slid to the ground, trapping the ball between his glove and the grass. Belt bought the deke before belatedly attempting to scamper from second base to third.
Instead, McCutchen threw Belt out by some 15 feet, sliding head-first into David Freese’s knee, as the Pittsburgh third baseman awaited his arrival.
“These are little things that come back to get us [and] haunt us,” Bochy said.
The blunder, a microcosm of the Giants’ lost summer, snuffed out a rare rally on a night when Pirates starter Gerrit Cole held the hosts to a pair of runs in six innings.
“We’ve got to stop compounding the damage and making a big out there,” Bochy said. “But that helped out there cause over there because it gives them a big out, now you’ve got a man on first instead of a man on first and second with some pretty good hitters coming up.”
Aside from Posey, who delivered run-scoring singles in the fifth and seventh innings, the only other offense came in the fourth when Brandon Crawford singled on a line drive to right.
Making his second start of the second half, Matt Cain only lasted four innings against Pittsburgh. The starter let in a pair of first-inning runs — via a McCutchen groundout and a Josh Harrison double — and then was undone by a disastrous second.
All four runs that Cain surrendered in the frame were unearned, set up by an Eduardo Nuñez throwing error. Harrison followed the miscue with an RBI single before McCutchen eventually skied a three-run homer into the left-field bleachers.
Following that blast, Cain, unhappy with balls and strikes calls, jarred with home plate umpire Chris Conroy. The back-and-forth led Bochy to emerge from the dugout to protect his pitcher, and engage in his own shouting match, ultimately earning his second ejection of the season.
“I think there was some frustration, really, all night,” Bochy said. “I don’t think he had a real good night, to be honest, as far as consistency, but that really had nothing to do with what happened tonight. You give up three-run homers and sometimes you deal with someone who’s a little bit off.”
The Giants wouldn’t allow any more damage until the bottom of the eighth when the Pirates tagged Josh Osich for a four-run barrage. Jordy Mercer connected on a three-run homer that landed beyond the wall in left and Starling Marte added a fourth run, doubling into the left-field corner.
Righetti hooked too
Pitching coach Dave Righetti was also tossed from the game in the ninth, following a trip to the mound. It was his first ejection since 2007.