The Pirates drew 10 walks to go with seven hits, but left 15 runners on base, and their bullpen could only hold so long until giving way. In this case, it came in the 11th inning, when a Daniel Hudson wild pitch plated the winning run, and the Giants beat the Pirates, 2-1, on Saturday.
The Pirates loaded the bases on three separate occasions, getting nothing out of any opportunity.
For the second straight game the Pirates were granted a walk-heavy, lackluster performance by a usually (or previously?) solid Giants starter. They drew three straight two-out walks off Matt Moore in the first, but Elias Diaz grounded out to end that.
Two-out lightning did get the Pirates a run in the third, when Andrew McCutchen doubled to left, David Freese walked and Josh Bell singled Cutch in for a 1-0 Pirates lead. That put runners on the corners for Diaz, who struck out.
In a 1-1 game, a walk to Bell, a single by Gregory Polanco and a walk to pinch-hitter John Jaso loaded the bases and chased Moore with two down in the sixth, but George Kontos fanned Josh Harrison.
Still at 1-1 in the ninth, McCutchen, Freese and Bell drew three straight two-out walks off Hunter Strickland in the ninth, bringing up ... Diaz. It just was not Diaz’s day. He struck out looking, turning an 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. He was credited with nine left on base individually.
Chad Kuhl, unable to get past the fifth inning since mid-April, held the Giants hitless through five on Saturday. He hit as high as 98.4 MPH with his sinker (and 97.8 with a four-seamer) and also went at San Francisco with 16 sliders. It started inauspiciously, though, as Kuhl got dsrilled in the left forearm with a comebacker from the first batter of the game, Denard Span.
Of course, Kuhl’s first pitch in the sixth inning in months was turned around for a home run. Austin Slater drove one just over the center-field wall, barely out of McCutchen’s reach, to break up the no-hitter and tie the game. Span also doubled in the inning, but Kuhl buckled Hunter Pence’s knees with an inside slider for a strikeout.
Kuhl needed just 75 pitches to get through six, the he was lifted for Jaso during the Pirates’ threat in the bottom of the inning. He struck out three and walked just one, allowing the one run on two hits.
Tony Watson and Juan Nicasio held the Giants in the seventh and eighth, respectively, and Felipe Rivero pitched a scoreless ninth and 10th.
Hudson opened the 11th striking out Kelby Tomlinson, but then walked Span. A wild pitch moved Span to second, though he held at third on Joe Panik’s single to left. Hudson got a big strikeout of Pence for the second out. Buster Posey worked a 3-2 count, and a slider got away, allowing Span to go home with the go-ahead run.
Jose Osuna singled and McCutchen’s groundout got him to second with two outs, but Sam Dyson struck out Freese to end a second straight four-hour game.
Polanco went 3-for-4 with a walk. Freese and Bell drew three walks each and McCutchen drew two — Moore walked six; Strickland, in just 1 1-3 innings, walked three.
The Pirates (37-44) had won their last two series and split the one before it, but now they’ve dropped a set with the lowly Giants. The resurgent Trevor Williams faces Jeff Samardzija, looking to avoid a sweep on Sunday.