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Giants scratch out 2-1 victory, take series

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Williams was again all manner of studly on the mound, but a seventh inning pop-fly misplayed by Starling Marte handed the Giants a 2-1 victory on Wednesday afternoon.

Williams served up groundball after groundball, serving up only five balls in the air, and only two in the first four innings, as he allowed fives hits and a run in six innings.

The Giants capitalized on some wildness by Williams in the first inning, loading the bases with one out on a fly ball do8uble to left by Joe Panik and walks to Brandon Belt and Buster Posey. Brandon Crawford then hit a grounder to Jordy Mercer at short, but too softly and too far to Mercer’s right to turn a double play and prevent the run from scoring.

The Pirates came right back in the second as John Jaso walked and Francisco Cervelli singled to short left with one out. Adam Frazier then lined a double into the right field corner to score Jaso and tie the game. After Mercer was walked intentionally to load the bases the Pirates squandered the opportunity for a big inning. Giants’ pitcher Jeff Samardzija made a nice bare-hand play on Williams’ high chopper to force Cervelli at the plate and then got Starling Marte to weakly pop out.

That was the only run the Pirates would score on the day. For the next five innings Williams served up ground balls while Samardzija preferred striking out opposing batter.

Tony Watson came on to pitch for the Pirates in the bottom of the seventh and promptly gave up a double to pinch-hitter Miguel Gomez, a player who even this writer has never heard of. Denard Span bunted Gomez to third with one out. After Panik grounded to first and Belt hit a high fly to left it appeared the inning was over, but left fielder Starling Marte did his best Jose Osuna impression as he inexplicably circled around the ball and fielded it on one bounce as the lead run crossed the plate.

From there, Giant’s relievers Hunter Strickland and Sam Dyson faced the minimum in the eighth and ninth innings to seal the victory.

The Pirates fall four games back of the leading Brewers, in a momentary tie for third with the Cardinals as all of the other teams in the division will play Wednesday night. The Pirates are off on Thursday and will resume play on Friday in San Diego.