Jeff Locke gave up home runs to new Giant Marlon Byrd and pitcher Madison Bumgarner in the early innings, and the Bucs offense struggled to keep up as the Pirates lost 6-4 Friday.
Locke had already given up a single, a walk and a sacrifice fly in the first inning before Byrd came to the plate in his first at bat as a Giant and reached down to knock Locke's curve for a two-run shot to left center. Byrd, remember, was ejected in the Reds and Pirates' HBP feud earlier this month, so he surely had a bit of extra motivation to go after the Pirates with a new team.
In the second, Gregor Blanco doubled with one out, and Bumgarner hit a 3-1 fastball to left to make it 5-2. It was his fifth homer of the season in 59 plate appearances -- a pretty good stretch for anyone, let alone a pitcher.
The Bucs, meanwhile, poked away at Bumgarner, scoring single runs in both the first and second innings. For the most part, though, they were unable to take full advantage of his uncharacteristically shaky command early on. The second inning was especially frustrating, as the Pirates loaded the bases with a walk, single and HBP but only managed to score on a force out and left two runners stranded.
Bumgarner settled down after the first couple frames, retiring 14 straight batters from the end of the second inning through the sixth, and the Giants tacked on an insurance run in the fourth when Locke (who was still in the game at that point) gave up an RBI double to Brandon Belt.
The Bucs finally threatened in the seventh as Michael Morse led off with a double and moved up on a broken-bat single by Sean Rodriguez, but they again had to settle for only one run, this time on a sacrifice fly by Neil Walker. The first two Pirates batters reached base in the eighth, too, but again, the Bucs only got one run. They also put their leadoff runner on in the ninth, but Gregory Polanco promptly grounded into a double play.
A couple quick notes:
-P- The Pirates continued to get good work from their bullpen. The great Joe Blanton (?) pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four, while Antonio Bastardo and Arquimedes Caminero pitched one apiece.
-P- In his return to the Pirates' lineup, Josh Harrison went 0-for-2 with an HBP (and not one that hit him in the thumb, fortunately) before being lifted for Polanco in the seventh.