Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Giants 2, Pirates 1 Kuhl's Best Start Wasted Sloppy Play, Lack of Clutch Hitting Doom Pirates in Extra-Inning Loss

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Giants 2, Pirates 1 Kuhl's Best Start Wasted Sloppy Play, Lack of Clutch Hitting Doom Pirates in Extra-Inning Loss

Article excerpt

The game Saturday featured performances that could breed optimism about the Pirates season on the first of July. Chad Kuhl was efficient and stingy. The late-inning relievers - Tony Watson, Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero - did their jobs. It also showed why the Pirates, despite being only six games out of first place, fell to 37-44 after losing to the San Francisco Giants, 2-1, in 11 innings at PNC Park.

Exactly midway through the season, the Pirates still seek traction. The first-place Milwaukee Brewers needed a three-game winning streak to go five games above 500; the National League Central Division is in reach. The Pirates had their best month yet in June, but even that meant only a 13-13 record.

Wild pitches, passed balls and a medium-size village left on base undid the Pirates. Daniel Hudson's one-out walk of Denard Span in the 11th inning led to the separation.

Span went to second when Elias Diaz could not glove Hudson's low fastball. He went to third on Joe Panik's single. After striking out Hunter Pence, Hudson walked Buster Posey, but ball four, a low slider, bounced away and Span scored to break a 1-1 tie.

"If I was going to get beat right there I was going to get beat with the best pitch for a right-hander for me this year, my slider," Hudson said. "I was trying to make a quality pitch. If I walk him, I walk him. Just got a little too much bite on it and got a bad kick."

Hudson pitched with a slim margin for error because the Pirates went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position and left 15 on base. Six were stranded in the first and the ninth. Diaz made the final out both times.

Giants reliever Hunter Strickland sent the game to extra innings, but not without drama. He struck out Jordy Mercer to end the eighth, then got the first two outs of the ninth on ground balls before his control disappeared. He walked Andrew McCutchen. He walked David Freese. He walked Josh Bell, and his pitch count was now in the 30s, but still Giants manager Bruce Bochy stayed in the dugout. …

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