Josh Bell slammed a three-run homer and Trevor Williams continued his studliest stretch of the season, starting his seventh combined shutout and collecting his tenth victory of the season as the Pirates prevailed 4-0 on the night the Giants retired Barry Bonds’ number.
Despite starting 16 minutes late due to the on-field ceremonies, the game was ripped off in a crisp 2:18, finish a few minutes before midnight Pittsburgh time. In seven innings Williams allowed five singles and a walk while striking out only two batters. It was the fourth time in his last five starts that he has not allowed a run, totally two runs in his last 29 innings - blemished only by Matt Carpenter’s home run last Sunday in a Cardinals’ victory. During that stretch, Williams has lowered his season ERA from 4.60 to 3.66.
The Pirates broke onto the scoreboard in the third when Josh Harrison led off with a walk, failing to swing at any of five pitches offered by starter Ty Blach. Jordy Mercer then grounded a single up the middle and both runners moved up on Williams’ sacrifice bunt before Corey Dickerson lifted a fly ball to center to score Harrison.
They came right back in the fourth as Gregory Polanco started off with a bunt single that rolled out to shortstop. David Freese then swung away, but tapped the ball down the third base line and he then beat the throw to first from the pitcher Blach. After Francisco Cervelli struck out swinging, right-handed batting Josh Bell jerked a ball into the seats in the left field corner for a three-run homer, his eighth long ball of the season and second of the series.
The just recalled Casey Kelly made his season debut and put up five scoreless innings of relief against the Pirates, but it wouldn’t matter as Pittsburgh’s Keone Kela and Felipe Vazquez slammed the door on the Giants, needing only 20 pitches between them in the eighth and ninth in closing out the win.
The win again puts the Pirates four games over .500 at 61-57, 7.0 games behind the Cubs and 4.0 out of the second Wild Card spot.
Now up two games to one in the series, Joe Musgrove (4-6, 3.41) will try to make it three of four on Sunday afternoon at 4:05 pm Eastern when he faces rookie righthander Dereck Rodriguez (5-1, 2.34), son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.