Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mccutchen Raises Cain, Triggers Win His 17th Home Run, Caps 6-Run Fifth Innng, Finishes San Francisco Sweep Pirates 6, Giants 5

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mccutchen Raises Cain, Triggers Win His 17th Home Run, Caps 6-Run Fifth Innng, Finishes San Francisco Sweep Pirates 6, Giants 5

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO - Right-hander Matt Cain's mistake was apparent from the moment the baseball left his hand. With San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey set up low and away, Cain hurled a first-pitch fastball that sailed over the heart of the plate. In April or May, June or July, he might have gotten a grooved pitch past this hitter. In August, though, Cain was cooked.

Andrew McCutchen belted the ball over the left-field wall at AT&T Park for a two-run home run that capped the Pirates' six-run fifth inning Wednesday. They survived another ninth-inning scare and swept the Giants with a 6-5, come-from-behind win, closing their West Coast road trip with 5-1 record. McCutchen's third consecutive two-hit game raised his average to .248.

"I've turned something," he said. "I don't know if it's turning a page or a corner or something."

The Pirates (62-56) have won six of their past seven, and nine of 12. They are one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild-card spot, and three back of the wild-card leading Giants.

"Road trips like this really bring a team together," said closer Tony Watson, who pulled off another Houdini escape after loading the bases with no outs in the ninth. Posey bounced into a double-play grounder, bringing the tying run to third before Brandon Crawford flied out to center.

"Watson took a bucket of guts out there to get through the ninth," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Watson also stranded the potential tying and winning runs in the Pirates' win Tuesday night, so he's fast growing friendly with late-game drama. Wednesday, he said his heart rate ticked along all right, adding, "Maybe because I've been in these situations the last couple times out."

There is an argument to be made that the Pirates' season pivoted on a base hit three weeks ago that likely has been forgotten by everyone except McCutchen. This was July 31, the day the Milwaukee Brewers' said goodbye to their catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, and swept the Pirates. McCutchen singled in the ninth off closer Jeremy Jeffress, his first hit in 12 at-bats, and felt right again.

The problem was Hurdle already had decided to bench McCutchen for the next three games in Atlanta. …

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