ORACLE PARK — Bryan Reynolds’ first game in San Francisco went as perfectly as he could have envisioned, even if he wasn’t wearing the uniform he had expected to wear.
The former second-round pick of the San Francisco Giants delivered a go-ahead single in the top of the ninth for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who acquired the switch-hitting outfielder in January 2018 in exchange for Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen was a one-year rental, and Reynolds is now one of the top rookies in the National League.
Early Monday night, one of the top rookies in the National League hit his 35th double of the year off Madison Bumgarner — tying a Pirates rookie record that had stood since 1926 — and then finally delivered the go-ahead single in the ninth off Jandel Gustave to propel the Pirates to a 6-4 victory.
“It’s pretty funny how that all worked out,” Reynolds said. “I had a few of my buddies from [Giants Single-A affiliate] San Jose in the other dugout.”
San Francisco (69-75) entered the ninth up two and protecting a 55-0 record when leading into the ninth, but with Will Smith (back), Tony Watson (wrist) and Reyes Moronta (shoulder) all down with injuries, the depth relievers struggled to shut the door.
Tyler Rogers, who pitched a perfect eighth, allowed a leadoff infield hit to Central Valley native Kevin Kramer on a weak grounder to an unfortunate spot.
“He was going one hitter at a time,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He got the ground ball, [Brandon Crawford] just couldn’t quite get to it.”
Bochy then handed the ball off to Fernando Abad, who got a groundout from Cole Tucker but walked pinch-hitter Josh Bell, batting from his weaker right-handed side. Bell was followed by another pinch-hitter, right-handed Elias Diaz, and with the Pirates able to counter with a left-hander if Bochy went to Gustave, Abad stayed in.
“I was trying to give Gustave a little break; yesterday he needed the day off,” Bochy said. “The walk hurt us.”
Abad threw a breaking ball over the heart of the plate that Diaz launched to left, just out of the reach of a lunging Mike Yastrzemski. Both Kramer and pinch-runner Starling Marte had to slam on the brakes, and Diaz ran nearly the full 90 feet back to a vacant first base despite a valiant pursuit by Brandon Belt.
That brought up Kevin Kramer, who scored both Kramer and Marte with a single to right-center. Reynolds followed with his own single to left-center to give Pittsburgh (63-81) the lead for the first time all night.
Mauricio Dubon dropped a ball at second base that could have turned into an inning-ending double play, and after a review of more than three minutes, Reynolds was ruled safe at second. That meant that Jose Osuna’s fly ball to shallow right would be only the second out of the inning, and though Jaylin Davis made a perfect throw home to get Newman, Buster Posey dropped the ball on the tag to give the Pirates an insurance run.
With how dominant Pittsburgh closer Felipe Vazquez was, the insurance run likely didn’t matter. Pitching with every bit as much authority as Smith has when he’s not battling back tightness, the left-hander pumped in a barrage of fastballs between 99 and 101 miles per hour, stopping only to freeze pinch-hitter Donovan Solano with a slider at 86. Austin Slater, another pinch-hitter, stared at a 101-mph fastball at the knees for the second out and Posey grounded out to first to end the game.
The calamitous ninth inning cost Madison Bumgarner what would have been his 10th win of the year, and it changed the tone of a night where the Giants had been in control by playing old-school baseball. Posey dropped his first career sacrifice bunt (on his own volition) to lead to a run in the first inning, and a pair of stolen bases in the fifth set up a go-ahead two-run double for Belt after the Pirates had tied it on a Jacob Stallings homer.
Reynolds and Melky Cabrera hit back-to-back doubles to cut it to 3-2 in the sixth, but Bumgarner proceeded to strand Cabrera at second and keep the lead intact by retiring the middle of the Pittsburgh lineup in order. Bumgarner continued to deal after Davis notched his first career RBI on a groundout in the bottom of the sixth to deny Pirates starter Trevor Williams a shutdown inning for the second consecutive frame.
Cole Tucker doubled and Erik Gonzalez walked to put the tying run on base, but even with Bumgarner at 89 pitches and finishing his third time through the order, Bochy let his workhorse stay on the mound. He got back-to-back popouts from pinch-hitter Adam Frazier and Newman, then struck out Reynolds to end the inning, drawing a standing ovation as he left the mound for what could be one of his final home starts as a Giant.
By pitching seven innings on the night, Bumgarner passed Stephen Strasburg and Aaron Nola to take the NL lead in innings pitched.
“Another solid seven innings,” Bochy said. “He’s been a savior. Shame we couldn’t hold on to get him the win there.”