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Good month fizzles out with 9 - 4 loss

The Pirates take series after Giants bats use all their power-ups in Monday’s blowout

Pittsburgh Pirates v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After a 14-4 blowout win against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday—in a game full of “big hits” with 8 extra base hits (6 doubles and 2 HRs) while going 9 for 18 with runners in scoring position—the San Francisco Giants were unable to ride the offensive way and dropped the next two match-ups in the series to close out the sweet month of May on a sour note.

Wednesday’s 9 - 4 loss wasn’t for lack of opportunities or a certain level of success against a tough pitcher. San Francisco’s offense swatted 10 hits and 4 runs against RHP Mitch Keller with 12 hits total and batting 3 for 7 with RISP.

If that offensive box score was offered before the start against a quality pitcher like Keller, the Giants probably would’ve taken it.

The Pirates’ starter came into the game with a 6-1 record with an ERA hovering around 3.00, a WHIP hovering around 1.00, and a 80 strikeouts over 68.2 IP.

The 10 hits was the highest total allowed by Keller on the season, and the 4 runs were tied for second most runs allowed in 12 starts. The outing inflated his ERA to 3.25 while still bagging the all important win.

The “big hit” —in such abundance on Monday—again proved scarce. Three double-plays bailed Pittsburgh out of trouble while frequent loud contact from Giants’ bats died at the warning track.

Casey Schmitt stunted a 2-on, 1-out, 1-run already in the 2nd inning, by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play. In an 8-3 ballgame, Schmitt missed a 3-run homer by feet in the 6th inning. A run scored on the sacrifice, but the bomb San Francisco needed to go off ended up fizzling out.

The absence of a red-hot Michael Conforto might have been the swing the Giants were missing. Gabe Kapler sat the lefty outfielder after he bruised his heel on an awkward stretch to first in the 8th inning of yesterday’s loss, forcing RHB Wilmer Flores into the DH role while Mitch Haniger slid over to right and Blake Sabol filled in at left.

Flores did muscle a 2-out single in the 3rd against Keller while also K’ing twice. Sabol also just missed a reeling in a McCutchen line-drive in the 3rd that kicked off the Pirates’ scoring and led to 4 runs and a bounty (pirate pun) they would never surrender.

The real detriment to the cause came from Alex Wood’s and the pitching corp’s inability to keep opponents from reaching base.

Pittsburgh had 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position with 14 hits and 3 walks. Wood’s only clean inning came in the 1st and that was aided by a nice defensive play by J.D. Davis at third to keep Andrew McCutchen from reaching base to lead off the game, and Blake Sabol’s throw from left nabbing Connor Joe as he tried to stretch a single to a double.

Wood was pulled for Ryan Walker with 2-runners on and one out in the 5th. His final line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 4 K. His ERA sits at 4.80.

Luke Jackson, making his Giants debut and first appearance since the 2021 World Series for Atlanta, pitched the only truly clean inning for San Francisco with an easy 7th including 2 K’s.

San Francisco bats scratched runs across in 4 different innings, but the Pirates saw their bet and raised them with crooked number response in nearly every subsequent half-inning. 7 of their 9 runs came with two outs. Ex-Giants McCutchen and Joe each had 3 hits, scored 2 runs and batted in 1.

A wild May ended with a series loss to the Pirates—their first one since dropping 3 of 4 to Arizona on the 11th - 14th. After finally surfacing above .500 for their first time in 2023, the Giants will end their May record at 17-12 and at a level 28-28 on the season.

Off day tomorrow before the other orange-and-black team comes to town.

Heads up: the Orioles are really good.