Coming off being swept by baseball’s worst team, the Pirates beat its best team, the Giants, 6-4. The win stopped the Pirates’ four-game losing streak.
The Pirates got an early 3-0 lead. The first run came in the second. With Ben Gamel on first, Gregory Polanco launched a triple into the far-away recesses of right-center at Oracle Park. There was only one out at the time, but Jacob Stallings and Kevin Newman both whiffed.
In the third, Ke’Bryan Hayes singled with two out and Bryan Reynolds blasted his 18th home run of the year into the bay. That’s a new career high for him.
Chad Kuhl got off to a sizzling start, fanning six in the first two innings. He threw a steady stream of sliders and it eventually caught up with him. He hung sliders right over the middle of the plate to Steven Duggar in the third and, with a man on, to Alex Dickerson in the sixth. That tied the score, 3-3. Dickerson’s shot finished Kuhl, who allowed six hits and struck out eight in five and a third.
The score didn’t stay tied for long, as the Giants gifted the Pirates with three hitless runs in the top of the seventh. A walk and a fielder’s choice put two on. Wilmer Difo, who continues to be incredibly productive as a pinch hitter, also walked to load the bases, then Adam Frazier walked to force in the go-ahead run. It looked like the Pirates were going to blow another chance to add on, as Hayes hit into a force at the plate and Reynolds looked at a third strike. Gamel hit a weak bouncer to first baseman LaMonte Wade, but Wade took a pratfall while trying to shovel the ball to the pitcher covering. Not only did Difo score, but Frazier alertly came all the way around from second to put the Pirates up, 6-3.
On the mound, Chris Stratton finished up the sixth. Then the Pirates got the good Clay Holmes in the seventh. He set the side down in order with two strikeouts. David Bednar threw the eighth, which appears to be his role now . . . until maybe something else opens up. Richard Rodriguez gave up a run on a two-out walk and triple in the ninth, but picked up his 14th save.