The Pirates couldn't recover from the Giants' four-run first inning as they lost 6-3 Saturday.
The Giants got to Francisco Liriano early, partially through some ticky-tack hits. Marco Scutaro singled and Joaquin Arias doubled to start the Giants' half of the first, and then Buster Posey had a broken-bat base hit. Then, two batters later, Garrett Jones failed to scoop a throw to first, and Brett Pill wound up with an infield single. Then, after an RBI groundout, Gregor Blanco hit a line drive to right for yet another single. The Giants hadn't done much to write home about, and yet the Pirates were in a 4-0 hole before they even got out of the first.
In the fifth, Tony Sanchez hit his first big-league homer, a huge shot to left on a high fastball. Then, after the Giants scored on Jared Hughes' wild pitch (one of three wild pitches for the Bucs) in the bottom of the inning, Tim Lincecum put two runners on in the sixth and got charged with two runs when Jose Mijares gave up a single to Gaby Sanchez and Jean Machi allowed a single to Tony Sanchez. That cut the lead to 5-3, but that would be as close as the Bucs would get -- Pablo Sandoval brought home a run in the bottom of the inning with a single off Vin Mazzaro, and the Pirates didn't score any more after that.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals and Reds both won, dropping the Pirates into a tie with the Cards atop the NL Central. Cincinnati is 2.5 games back.