The San Francisco Giants returned to action on Friday and came away with a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. If the Giants are going to make an unlikely postseason run this year, they’re going to eventually need to start turning in victories against winning teams. However, facing one of the worst teams in the National League, the Giants took care of business.
Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski got the scoring started with an opposite-field solo homer in the second inning of Pirates starter Bryse Wilson. Brandon Crawford and Thairo Estrada followed up Yaz with a pair of singles before a LaMonte Wade sacrifice bunt and Luis Gonzalez sacrifice fly manufactured another run.
The Giants had their ace, Carlos Rodón on the hill, and a feeble Pirates lineup struggled to put rallies together against the southpaw. Rodón was not as crisp as he had been early in the season, missing his spots a bit more than usual. Still, working with an early three-run lead, Rodón forced the Pirates hitters to do damage. Without issuing any free passes, Rodón worked around his six hits and allowed just two runs despite surrendering home runs to Rodolfo Castro and Ben Gamel.
Yastrzemski drove in another run in the 5th inning, lining a double that scored Brandon Belt and extended the Giants lead to 4-1. However, things got dicey once Rodón left the game.
Manager Gabe Kapler turned to recent callup Thomas Szapucki in the seventh inning. The Giants recent acquisition in the Darin Ruf trade gave up a leadoff homer to Greg Allen and recorded just one out before he was replaced by John Brebbia, who kept the damage limited.
In the top of the eigth, though, Brebbia allowed a pair of leadoff singles and was lifted for Alex Young with one out and the tying run on second base. Despite Young’s recent struggles, he lived up to the moment. He walked Oneil Cruz to load the bases, but struck out Allen and induced an inning-ending groundout from Tucupita Marcano.
An Evan Longoria walk setup Luis Gonzalez for an RBI double in the bottom of the inning to give the Giants a little more breathing room, but Camilo Doval didn’t need it. He quickly dispatched of the Pirates in a 9-pitch 1-2-3 ninth innings.
The Giants improved to 55-57 with the win, but remain 7.5 games back of the Padres for the final wild card. San Francisco will look to get a winning streak going tomorrow, when they face the Pirates at 6:05 PM Pacific.