The Pirates scored three runs in the first inning and never relinquished their lead in a 5-2 defeat of the Giants Sunday night, as the Bucs took three games in a four-game series against the defending champs.
Gregory Polanco led off with the first with a single, and Andrew McCutchen followed with a single of his own. Then Ryan Vogelsong walked Aramis Ramirez and allowed a run by walking Jung-Ho Kang with the bases loaded. Neil Walker then brought home McCutchen with a single, and Pedro Alvarez scored Ramirez with a sacrifice fly before Vogelsong's lengthy first inning finally ended as Francisco Cervelli grounded into a force out.
From there, Francisco Liriano went to work. He walked the bases full in the second, but left them loaded when Nori Aoki lined out. He kept the Giants off the board in the third and fourth innings, but gave up unearned runs in the fifth and sixth thanks in part to an error by Neil Walker and two more by Alvarez, whose brutal season at first base continues.
McCutchen homered in the bottom of the sixth to give the Pirates an insurance run, though, and Alvarez helped make up for his defensive troubles by homering the following inning. Meanwhile, Arquimedes Caminero, Joakim Soria, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon combined for 3.2 scoreless innings to finish off the Bucs' win.
The Pirates now begin a softer stretch in their schedule, with series coming up against the Marlins, Rockies and Brewers. In the meantime, if there had been any question about the Bucs' ability to hang with the best teams in the National League, their recent play seems to have answered it, as they've won series against the Dodgers, Mets and now the Giants this month.