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Pirates fall 4-1 to Giants, settle for series split

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The Pirates can’t get it done today, but the series ends at 2-2.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates Mark Alberti-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates (17-22) and San Francisco Giants (23-16) wrapped up a four game set on Sunday afternoon. The Pirates, winners of two consecutive ballgames via a walkoff, were looking to take the series against the Giants, who boast the highest winning percentage in the National League.

The Pirates sent Mitch Keller (2-4) to the mound, while the Giants countered with Alex Wood (4-0), whose surging start to the season has been noticeable. Keller, on the other hand, was looking to reach some semblance of consistency in the 24th start of his career.

The scoring started quickly — but wouldn’t keep that pace — when the Giants’ Alex Dickerson grounded into a force out at first base, which scored Mike Tauchman, netting a 1-0 San Francisco lead.

Things proceeded smoothly for both pitchers thereafter until the Pirates were finally able to get on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. With Jacob Stallings on third base, Ka’ai Tom did his job when he lofted a ball to centerfield, enabling Stallings to score on the sacrifice fly, tying the game at 1-1.

Keller ran into trouble in the sixth inning, however. Evan Longoria singled before Brandon Crawford drew a walk to lead off the frame. Keller had thrown 92 pitches to that point, and manager Derek Shelton opted to pull the plug on Keller’s start by bringing in Clay Holmes to attempt to navigate out of the newly formed jam.

Although Holmes was able to limit the damage by inducing a Darin Ruf force out, a Holmes wild pitch scored the Giants’ second run of the game. Holmes was then able to strikeout the pitcher, Wood, to end the inning with the Pirates trailing, 2-1.

Keller’s afternoon concluded having pitched five innings, allowing two runs on six hits, while walking three, and striking out eight — a quality performance against a strong opponent. Keller’s ERA dropped to 7.16.

Wood, by comparison, would contribute six innings to the Giants’ cause, allowing eight hits, one run, while he walked one, and struck out six. With the quality outing, Wood lowered his season ERA to 1.75 and earned his fifth win of the season.

Holmes was able to post two scoreless innings for the Pirates, allowing a hit and a walk, but no runs and one strikeout.

In the ninth inning, David Bednar entered in relief for Duane Underwood, Jr. A Mike Yastrzemski home run (5) gave the Giants a 4-1 advantage. Bednar’s afternoon ended with an inning pitched and two runs given up on one hit and one walk.

Tyler Rogers entered the bottom of the ninth to try to nail down a save and secure a San Francisco victory. He hit Tom to begin the frame before getting Troy Stokes to fly out. Gregory Polanco then grounded into a force out, eliminating Tom from the base paths. Adam Frazier subsequently flew out to center, with the Giants taking the victory, 4-1.

With the loss, the Pirates fall to 17-23, while the Giants improve to 24-16.

The Pirates will head out on the road for the next week with a two game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals scheduled to begin Tuesday night and ending the next night before heading to Atlanta to play the Braves for four games. The Bucs return back to PNC Park for a six game homestand beginning May 25 with three games against the Chicago Cubs followed by three games against the Colorado Rockies.