Game Recap: Pirates Improbably Rout Giants

The Pirates’ game in San Francisco looked like one that didn’t need to be played.  Baseball’s weakest-hitting team by far was facing Giants’ ace Kevin Gausman, who came in with a 1.84 ERA and lots of other fancy stats.  On the mound for the Pirates was Wil Crowe and his 6.12 ERA.

So of course the Pirates knocked Gausman out, Crowe had a good start, and the Pirates won, 10-2.  It was their second straight over the team that came into the series with MLB’s best record.

The Pirates had a chance to do a lot of damage in the first.  Adam Frazier singled, and Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds both walked to load the bases with nobody out.  All they got, though, was one run on a sacrifice fly by Gregory Polanco.

The Giants tied it in the second when two singles put runners at the corners with nobody out.  The lead runner scored on a double play, which wasn’t so bad.  And that’s all the Giants got off Crowe until LaMonte Wade homered to lead off the sixth.  Crowe fanned the next batter, Mike Yastrzemski, for his career-high ninth whiff, then departed for Clay Holmes, who got the next two outs.

By the time Wade homered, the Pirates had six runs.  Most of it didn’t come from the usual sources, as Polanco and Kevin Newman had big days.  In the third, Polanco singled in Reynolds, who’d doubled.  Polanco later came around to score on a ground out and a Ben Gamel single.  That put the Bucs up, 3-1.

In the fifth, Polanco launched his 11th home run of the year over the notch in right-center, 415 feet away.  Two more runs followed when John Nogowski walked and Gamel doubled him to third.  That ended one of Gausman’s worse starts of the season and Newman made it worse still.  He greeted reliever John Brebbia by bouncing a two-run single through the middle, making it 6-1.

Chris Stratton fanned three in the seventh and the Pirates added another three-spot in the top of the eighth.  Newman led off with a single and Michael Perez, of all people, tripled into that right-center gap.  Pinch hitter Wilmer Difo hit a sacrifice fly, then a third run scored when Frazier hit his 28th double and Reynolds singled for his 57th RBI.  The Pirates picked up a final run in the ninth when Nogowski doubled, then scored when Gamel and Newman singled.

Austin Davis and Kyle Keller got through the eighth and ninth on seven and five pitches, respectively.  Polanco, making a last-ditch case to establish some trade value, drove in three.  Newman had four hits and three RBIs.  Gamel had three hits, and Frazier, Reynolds and Perez each two.