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Charlie Morton returns, but Pirates lose 10-0

Justin K. Aller

Well, they don't get much worse than that. Matt Cain and the Giants' bullpen three-hit the Pirates, and San Francisco managed 17 hits of its own while drubbing the Pirates 10-0.

Charlie Morton allowed four runs, two earned, over five innings, mostly because he allowed a ton of baserunners. The underlying stats (five strikeouts, one walk, six ground ball outs) were fine, but he hit three batters and allowed seven hits. He did throw fairly hard, as advertised, and with good movement, and I'm comfortable sending him out there again -- not that the Pirates really have a choice.

"It's his first time out," Clint Hurdle said. "It's not going to be a hard curve for me to grade him on right now."

Morton took a similarly long view of his first start of the season.

"I wasn't looking for this start to validate what I'd gone through in rehab," he said. "It's part of the process, a long process. We're talking a year.

"I wish it had gone better, but I think I can take quite a few positives from it."

Morton expressed confidence in his curveball.

"I think the action on the pitch was good, and I think overall, the location of the piece was really good," Morton said, while acknowledging that he hit two batters with the curve.

The fifth was a bizarre inning for Morton. The Bucs were already down 2-0, and Morton hit Brandon Crawford with one out, then allowed a ground-rule double to Buster Posey. Then Hunter Pence hit a grounder to second, and Neil Walker threw home, getting Crawford in a rundown. The Pirates weren't very crisp on the rundown, but they did get Crawford, or at least it seemed so until Crawford was awarded home plate as Pedro Alvarez was called for interference. Replays showed that both Crawford and Alvarez were way outside the basepath at the time and that Alvarez only cut back toward the basepath to get out of Crawford's way, but hey. Morton then hit another batter and allowed a sacrifice fly, and it was 4-0 before the Pirates had even gotten their first hit.

And then it was ... Mike Zagurski time, baby! Zagurski pitched the sixth and was allowed to gas-can it up, allowing five runs. You can't really blame Clint Hurdle for that, of course -- it was garbage time, and the Pirates badly needed someone to take some innings, what with everything that's going on in their rotation. As it stood, Zagurski only took one before Ryan Reid came in. Nothing especially interesting happened after that, except that Vin Mazzaro pitched the ninth because Zagurski couldn't get through two innings. My guess is that Zagurski has pitched his last game for the Pirates. Oh, and it wasn't a very good game for Michael McKenry, either, as the Giants had their way with him on the bases.

David Manel contributed to this post.