Baseball / Sports

The San Francisco Giants' Gregor Blanco (7) slides safely into second base with a double as Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer tries to make the tag during the second inning at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Pirates, Liriano edge Giants, 3-1

SAN FRANCISCO--The putrid stretch at AT&T Park hit a new low Tuesday night.

A 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates dropped the Giants to 0-5 on the homestand. They had not dropped the first five games of a homestand since their first one at AT&T Park, April 11-15, 2000.

A night after getting shut out on 100 pitches, the Giants mustered just six hits and struck out 13 times against Francisco Liriano and two Pirates relievers.

Tim Hudson got off to a rough start but had a solid night overall. Josh Harrison kicked things off with a leadoff homer to right, and Travis Snider hit a two-run shot in the second, but Hudson would allow just two hits the rest of the way while getting through seven innings for the 13th time in 21 starts.

While the Giants weren't able to give Hudson any help, they surely are encouraged by the way he feels as the weather heats up. Hudson has thrown a season-high 114 pitches in each of his last two starts and has given up just four earned runs in three starts since the All-Star break, a positive sign for a pitcher who missed the second half last season with an ankle injury.

--The Giants made another flurry of moves Tuesday morning in the latest attempt to give some sort of boost to a struggling lineup. Veteran first baseman Travis Ishikawa had his contract purchased, and outfielder Juan Perez was recalled from Triple-A. Infielder Adam Duvall was optioned back to the Fresno Grizzlies, and infielder Tony Abreu was designated for assignment.

Ishikawa was drafted by the Giants in 2002 and spent parts of four seasons in the big leagues. His final season with the Giants was 2010, when he made 116 appearances for a team that would go on to win a title. Ishikawa, 30, has bounced around the league since that season and signed a minor league contract with the Giants on April 25. Manager Bruce Bochy said he would primarily be used as a pinch hitter.

"Until we think (Brandon) Belt is ready to go, he'll give us a left-handed bat and an option at first base," Bochy said. "He's been swinging the bat well the past week in Fresno. We're looking for help."

Ishikawa was hitting .271 with 11 homers for the Grizzlies and had a .361 average and three home runs over his last 10 games in the minors. Perez has been called up four times this season, hitting just .156 while serving mostly as a defensive replacement.

Bochy said Duvall was sent down because Buster Posey may play more first base than usual while the Giants wait for Belt to return. Posey has started every game of the second half, and Bochy is closely tracking his workload.

"I'm a little concerned," he said. "I don't want to wear him down to the point where it takes a week to get his legs back under him."

Posey started at first base Tuesday, allowing Andrew Susac to make his first career start. Bochy said Susac may start behind the plate on Wednesday, too.

Abreu had a strange stretch. He opted out of his Triple-A contract last week and then ended up returning to the Giants to come up to the big leagues. He was designated for assignment after going hitless in four at-bats.

--Belt played catch with trainer Dave Groeschner and took swings off a tee and could be cleared to return to a lineup this weekend. The Giants are still trying to decide if that lineup will be theirs or if Belt will go out on a short rehab assignment. The first baseman has missed 10 games with a concussion.

(c)2014 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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