Baseball / Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates' Pedro Alvarez crosses home plate after hitting a three-run homer against the San Francisco Giants in the third inning at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Monday, May 5, 2014. (Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/MCT)

Giants outlast Pirates in wild one, 11-10

PITTSBURGH -- The Giants changed cities on their 10-game road trip and completely changed personalities during a 5-hour, 29-minute marathon with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

Instead of the homer-hitting, stingy-pitching outfit that subdued Atlanta over the weekend in tidy fashion, the Giants had 20 hits without a homer, and despite a messy pitching night--over the first seven innings, anyway--they somehow managed to eke out an 11-10 victory over the Pirates in 13 innings at PNC Park.

In the Giants' sixth straight win, the pitching staff gave up twice as many runs as it had in the previous five games combined, but the bullpen locked in once the Giants tied the score in the ninth, and relief pitcher Jean Machi also factored into the winning rally.

With Pittsburgh's seventh pitcher, Jared Hughes, on the mound to start the top of the 13th, Hunter Pence reached on a one-out walk and outfielder Juan Perez was hit by a pitch. Out of pinch hitters, manager Bruce Bochy sent Machi, who had pitched two innings of scoreless relief, up to bunt.

Machi (5-0) dropped a beauty, and he was safe at first when second baseman Neil Walker couldn't handle Hughes' errant throw, and the ball dropped behind him just past the first base bag. Pence came around to score the go-ahead run. Sergio Romo came on in the bottom of the 13th to record his 10th save in 10 chances.

The Giants' 10th win in 11 games was a crazy back-and-forth affair in which the staff gave up two four-run innings to fall behind by six, yet rallied to tie the game at 9-9 in the seventh and again in the ninth after the Pirates had taken a 10-9 lead in the bottom of the seventh.

The Giants jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning for Yusmeiro Petit, who was replacing injured Matt Cain for a second straight game. But Pedro Alvarez's three-run homer capped a four-run Pirates third, and Pittsburgh added four more runs in the fifth on a run-scoring double by Starling Marte, two run-scoring wild pitches by Giants reliever Jake Dunning and a sacrifice fly by Clint Barmes.

Trailing 8-2, however, the Giants came storming back. They scored five runs on six hits in the sixth, Brandon Hicks delivering the biggest blow with a two-run double.

The Pirates answered with a run in the sixth, but an RBI double by Michael Morse and a run-scoring single by Hector Sanchez tied the score in the seventh. The Giants appeared to be in prime position to take the lead in the seventh with runners at first and third, but struggling Pablo Sandoval hit into a double play to end the threat.

Pittsburgh regained the lead 10-9 in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out, first-pitch pinch-hit single by Jose Tabata against left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, but the Giants tied it in the ninth when Pence singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Buster Posey single.

The Giants ran themselves out that rally when pinch-runner Ehire Adrianza was cut down at third by right fielder Travis Snider on Sanchez's fourth hit, which tied a career best.

Then the game settled into a pitcher's duel as the teams emptied their benches. The Giants used pitcher Madison Bumgarner as a pinch-hitter in the 11th innings, and the Pirates used one of their starters, Gerrit Cole, to hit in the 12th.

The Giants also got two strong scoreless innings from reliever Santiago Casilla, who concluded his stint with a 14-pitch battle against Walker in the 10th with the winning run on third. Walker fouled off eight consecutive pitches in the at-bat before Casilla finally struck him out on a 3-2 count.

--Concern grew after Sunday after the game when Cain tried to throw without protective covering for the first time on his mildly sliced right index finger and as he said, "It wanted to break back open." The Giants decided it was in Cain's best interests to give it another five days and bring him back Saturday in Los Angeles.

Cain is confident there won't be a second false alarm "I think we're all confident," said Bochy. "(Trainer) Dave Groeschner feels like he'll be ready, too. It just one of those things where the seams get right on it and it opens it up. It's such a small cut, it looked like it would heal in time (for Monday's start), but it's in the absolute worst spot it can be in."

Said Cain, "It wasn't completely healed, and it would be taking a risk that if I went out there and pitched on it and it broke back open. It's just erring on the side of caution to take this start off, then it really should be perfect for Saturday."

(c)2014 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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