Bumgarner looks to break through vs. Pirates

Bumgarner looks to break through vs. Pirates
April 27, 2011, 1:40 pm
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April 27, 2011

GIANTS (11-11) vs.
PITTSBURGH (10-13)

Coverage begins at 3:30 P.M. at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants didn't need to generate much at the plate to end their longest slide of the season. The reigning World Series champions may be in for a better offensive effort Wednesday night.

The Giants look to continue their success against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle game of this series at PNC Park.

San Francisco (11-11) ended a four-game skid after Darren Ford raced home on a fielder's choice in the 10th inning in a 3-2 win at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Ford put himself in position when he went from first to third on an errant pickoff attempt, then scored when second baseman Neil Walker fielded a grounder and lobbed the ball to first.

REWIND: Giants ride Ford's speed to win over Pirates

"There's no fear in him; he's not afraid to make a mistake, and that's what you love about him," manager Bruce Bochy said of Ford. "I tell you what, that was one of the most impressive displays of speed I've seen on a baseball field."

The run capped a win that saw all of the Giants' scoring done on plays that didn't count as hits.

San Francisco's lineup has struggled over the last five games, hitting .196 with one homer, seven walks and 42 strikeouts.
RELATED: Giants stats page

While the Giants managed seven hits Tuesday, they could be in for a better performance as the series continues. They've won nine of the past 11 meetings with Pittsburgh (10-13) while hitting .284 with 33 doubles and nine homers.

Pablo Sandoval has been a big part of that with a .377 average and 11 RBIs over his last 15 matchups with the Pirates, assisting San Francisco to wins in 11 of them.

He got two hits for a second consecutive game Tuesday, as he continues to be the Giants' top offensive threat, compiling a .329 average with five homers while driving in 13 runs.

The Giants may need Sandoval to continue his hot hitting, as they give Madison Bumgarner (0-3, 7.79 ERA) the ball after he matched the shortest start of his career in Friday's 4-1 loss to Atlanta.

REWIND: Bumgarner lasts just 2-23 innings, Giants fall to Atlanta

The left-hander allowed four runs in 2 2-3 innings against the Braves and continues to search for his first win since Game 4 of the World Series.

While Bumgarner's ERA is the highest of any member of the San Francisco rotation, James McDonald (0-2, 10.13) owns the most bloated on the Pirates.

The right-hander has served up five homers over his last three games, with two coming Thursday while surrendering eight runs in three innings of a 9-5 loss at Florida.

His performances this season have been a major letdown after he went 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 11 starts last year after Pittsburgh acquired him in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"He needs to pitch," manager Clint Hurdle told the team's official website. "I don't think he's been pitching. There's been more throwing going on. The emphasis on mechanics - yes, he needs to tighten things up - but he needs to pound the bottom of the zone. You've got to pound the bottom of the zone, and the curveball needs to be sharp and tightened up."

McDonald didn't fare well in his only start against the Giants on July 19, allowing four runs and nine hits - one homer - in five innings of a 5-2 loss to Bumgarner while with Los Angeles.

He's also struggled versus Sandoval, who is 3 for 7 with a double in the matchup.