For the third game in a row, the San Francisco Giants got behind early, then threatened late but couldn’t make up the entire gap as they lost 4-1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a three-game weekend series.
After rain delayed the start of the game by an hour and 25 minutes, Madison Bumgarner allowed four runs in the bottom of the first, which was more than enough support for Pirates starter Jordan Lyles.
Bumgarner got the first two outs with no trouble, but a walk to Jung Ho Kang and a Josh Bell single brought up Francisco Cervelli, who drove the first two runs home with a double. Catcher Pablo Reyes, who entered the night batting .087, singled Cervelli home and took second on Gerardo Parra’s attempt to throw him out, which instantly came back to bite San Francisco (8-13), as Reyes scored on JB Shuck’s single.
While Parra’s throw hurt the Giants, Pittsburgh (11-6) would benefit from excellent outfield defense in the next inning. Brandon Crawford singled and advanced to third on Evan Longoria’s double, but Kevin Pillar flew out to former Giant Melky Cabrera in shallow right. Crawford tried to score on the play but was thrown out by 10 feet, and the Giants wouldn’t be able to mount another serious threat against Lyles, who struck out six over six shutout innings, limiting the visitors to four hits and a walk. Lyles left the game after 86 pitches, taking a Joe Panik liner off his hand on his final pitch of the night, which resulted in a double play.
As they did in their two losses to the Washington Nationals, the Giants once again made noise against the bullpen, but it wouldn’t be enough. Francisco Liriano allowed a pair of walks in the seventh, but Kyle Crick, who the Pirates acquired when they traded Andrew McCutchen to the Giants, struck Pillar out to end the inning. The visitors would finally push a run across in the eighth, starting a rally on a one-out pop-up by Yangervis Solarte that went for a single when center fielder Starling Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez crashed into each other. The play caused both to leave the game
Steven Duggar then walked, and a Buster Posey RBI single off Richard Rodriguez got the visitors on the board, but Rodriguez would get Brandon Belt to pop out on the first pitch he saw to end the threat. Felipe Vazquez struck out the side in the ninth for his sixth save of the year.
Bumgarner wouldn’t allow another run after the first, but his rough early frame was all the offense the Pirates would need. He allowed six hits and a walk, striking out seven over six innings, and Nick Vincent took care of the seventh and eighth with minimal trouble to preserve the rest of the bullpen.