Andrew McCutchen had four of the Pirates' 13 hits as the Pirates beat up on Chris Heston and the Giants Tuesday night, 7-4.
The Giants scored two on a Buster Posey double in the first, but as was the case Monday night, the Bucs stormed back to take a 4-2 lead. Josh Harrison led off the third with a single, Gregory Polanco walked, and McCutchen (who had already singled in his first at-bat) brought home a run with a long single to right that didn't go for extra bases only because Polanco didn't seem to realize it wouldn't be caught. Two batters later, Starling Marte walked, and then Heston threw a wild pitch that scored Polanco to tie the game. Pedro Alvarez then brought home the last two runners with a double. The Pirates' problems cashing in runners on base don't seem to come up much anymore.
The Giants tied the game in the bottom of the inning, though, as Brandon Belt singled and Brandon Crawford hit a "homer" that a fan plainly reached over the wall to catch.
Not sure how this isn’t interference. Hands across fence. Glove in front of hands. pic.twitter.com/sd0pa5AVmC— Jim Rosati (@northsidenotch) June 3, 2015
It was allowed to stand after a lengthy review. But whatever -- it wasn't a real home run, but it was close to one, and A.J. Burnett didn't seem to have his usual ground-ball magic going.
No matter, because Andrew McCutchen was due up again the next inning. He raced around the bases for a two-out triple, and then the Giants removed Heston, who'd taken 84 pitches to get through 3.2 innings. Yusmeiro Petit then gave up a single to Neil Walker as the Pirates cashed in yet another runner in scoring position.
In the fifth, Jordy Mercer came up, and Petit served up an 85-MPH ... well, Gameday listed it as a slider, but really it looked like a middle-middle changeup that didn't break. Any big-leaguer should have been able to pound a pitch like that, and Mercer did, depositing it deep in the seats in left-center for his first homer of the year. The Pirates added yet another run in the sixth as Polanco singled and then scored on McCutchen's double.
That left McCutchen a homer short of the cycle, and he didn't deliver in a final plate appearance in the eighth, but hey -- he's now up to .292/.379/.497, and he only needs a couple more games like this to get right back to his career norms after his disastrous April. And that's with a .307 BABIP that's still way below his career norms. He's 23-for-57 going back to May 20. He's been unstoppable, and it's no coincidence that the Pirates are 10-3 in that time frame.
Tony Watson loaded the bases in a rocky eighth, but got Joe Panik to ground out to strand all three runners. (Watson had pitched in three of the previous four days before Tuesday, and I almost tweeted that the Pirates shouldn't have bothered to use him with a three-run lead. As it turned out, though, the Giants promptly hit a couple of rather weak singles, which would have necessitated Tony Watson anyway had some other pitcher given them up.) Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth for yet another save. The Pirates moved to four games above .500 with the victory.