Riding a five-game winning streak, the Pirates showed that, when your team can’t hit, one mistake by the pitcher can be fatal. Chris Archer made that mistake today and it ended the team’s five-game winning streak with a 3-2 loss to San Francisco, as the Pirates’ offense managed only five htis.
From the start Archer wasn’t at his best against the Giants’ anemic lineup. He ran up some pitch counts, but got through the first four innings without any damage, with three hits and two walks allowed.
Dereck Rodriguez meanwhile was breezing through the Pirates’ hitters, retiring the first nine batters he faced. Cole Tucker broke that stretch when he led off the fourth with a double. Two batters later, Josh Bell launched a changeup 416 feet to right for his fourth home run and a 2-0 lead.
Unfortunately, Archer gave it right back and then some. Rodriguez led off the top of the fifth with a hit and Steven Duggar beat out a bunt. One out later, Buster Posey hit his first home run of the season to center, giving the Giants a 3-2 lead.
The Pirates continued meekly making outs against Rodriguez until a two-out walk to Colin Moran in the sixth. Although he’d thrown only 78 pitches, the Giants went to the bullpen rather than have him face Bell again. After a walk to Bell, the still-struggling Francisco Cervelli whiffed on a pitch well out of the strike zone.
The Pirates’ bullpen did its job. Having gotten votes of confidence from the GM on his radio show, Richard Rodriguez and Keone Kela put up scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh. Francisco Liriano did the same in the eighth, as did Nick Kingham in the ninth, although Kingham had to retire Posey with runners at the corner to escape the inning.
The Pirates didn’t threaten again until the ninth. Bryan Reynolds had a pop fly single in the seventh, but the inning ended with a fly out by pinch hitter Adam Frazier, his first appearance in the series. In the ninth, Cervelli walked with one out and was forced at second by Jung Ho Kang. Reynolds nearly played the hero, doubling to right, but the relay throw from Joe Panik easily cut down Kang at the plate to end the game. Reynolds finished 3-for-4, the rest of the team 2-for-27.