PITTSBURGH — The San Francisco Giants’ eight-game winning streak ended in improbable fashion.
Jeff Locke followed consecutive horrible starts with 6 2/3 scoreless innings, Erik Kratz hit his first home run since 2014 and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Madison Bumgarner and the Giants 1-0 on Monday night.
Locke (6-5) allowed five hits, no walks and struck out three, helping the Pirates to their second win in 12 games. The left-hander had allowed 18 runs and 20 hits over 8 2/3 innings during his previous two outings, certainly making him a longshot to cool off the major leagues’ hottest team.
“He was throwing a lot of strikes,” Giants first baseman Brandon Belt said. “He had the ball moving both ways. His changeup was working well. He just did a good job.”
Bumgarner (8-3) was the tough-luck loser, allowing one run in eight innings while having his seven-game winning streak snapped. The left-hander had his 12th straight start allowing two earned runs or fewer and gave up five hits while striking out eight and walking two.
It was Bumgarner’s second complete game of the season and 12th of his career.
“That’s a tough one to lose for Bum,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
And a sweet one to win for the Pirates, who had lost five in a row and 10 of 11.
“I really don’t think it mattered who would have been on the mound tonight,” Locke said. “This team needed a win badly. Whoever pitched was going to go out, rise to the occasion and pitch a good game.
“I thought I threw the ball pretty well. I avoided the walks and was able to fill up the strike zone.”
Kratz’s solo shot with two outs in fifth was his first since a two-homer game for the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 18, 2014 against the Minnesota Twins.
The veteran catcher had been hitless in 16 at-bats since the Pirates acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels for $20,000 on June 11 after Francisco Cervelli went on the disabled list with a broken left hand.
Mark Melancon pitched the ninth in his 400th career appearance for his 20th save in 21 chances.
Left fielder Angel Pagan leaped and appeared to make a spectacular catch at the top of fence on Kratz’s drive. However, the ball popped out of his glove when he crashed into the fence and fell into the first row of seats.
“I didn’t think it was going to get out,” Kratz said. “I don’t know if (Pagan) helped it over, but he didn’t hurt it from going over, put it that way.”
Pagan slammed his glove down in frustration.
“It’s a tough, tough play,” Bumgarner said. “As tough a play as an outfielder is going to have, really.
“I thought it was a pretty good pitch. I haven’t gone back and looked at it, but just from seeing it live, it was right where I wanted to throw it. I thought it was a good spot to pitch him, but he made an adjustment. Obviously, he’s a pretty strong guy.”
Locke was pulled after giving up a two-out double to Jarrett Parker in the seventh inning despite having thrown just 85 pitches. Locke also continued to be effective at home, winning for the fourth time in his last five starts and pitching at least 6 1/3 innings in each game.