Cueto's return a huge success as Giants top Pirates

Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News on

Published in Baseball

SAN FRANCISCO -- Johnny Cueto looked like himself.

And that's all the San Francisco Giants could hope for on Tuesday night.

Cueto needed 69 pitches to throw five shutout innings of one-hit ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates in an outstanding 2019 season debut that keyed a 5-4 San Francisco Giants win.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL in his pitching elbow last August, the right-hander returned to the mound at Oracle Park for the first time since July 28, 2018.

"It's been awhile," manager Bruce Bochy said before the game.

Cueto racked up four strikeouts and only allowed two baserunners against Pittsburgh, both of whom reached in the third inning. The only batter who recorded a hit against Cueto, left fielder Kevin Kramer, was the last hitter he faced as Cueto won an eight-pitch battle by striking out Kramer on 3-2 changeup to close out the top of the fifth.


Cueto's battery-mate, catcher Stephen Vogt, gave the Giants an early 2-0 lead with a two-run single in the first inning off Pirates starter Mitch Keller.

Vogt struck again the fifth, lofting a two-run home run into the right field arcade seats above the brick wall in right field to extend the Giants' lead to 5-0.

Left-hander Andrew Suarez helped preserved the lead by escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the sixth and by pitching a scoreless seventh, but fellow lefty Wandy Peralta gave up a two-run home run to Josh Bell in a four-run Pirates eighth inning to narrow Pittsburgh's deficit.

Rookie Shaun Anderson entered with two outs in the eighth and recorded four outs to pick up the first save of his career.


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