April 28, 2011
GIANTS (11-12) vs.
Coverage begins at 9:00 A.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A series with the Pittsburgh Pirates would appear to be a good chance for the San Francisco Giants to shake out of their offensive slump.
That hasn't been the case yet.
The Giants look to bounce back from their first shutout loss of the season and avoid a seventh loss in eight games when they finish this three-game set against the Pirates on Thursday afternoon at PNC Park.
RELATED: MLB scoreboard
San Francisco (11-12) has totaled 14 runs with a .198 batting average and one homer while dropping five of six. The Giants swatted 12 homers while winning six of their previous seven.
Their current struggles continued Wednesday, when they mustered six hits - all singles - in a 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh (11-13). San Francisco won Tuesday's series opener 3-2, but scored all three of those runs on plays that didn't involve hits.
REWIND: Giants blanked in loss to Pirates
The Giants are 0 for 17 with runners in scoring position in this series.
Pablo Sandoval is one of San Francisco's few recent offensive bright spots. He's collected three hits in this series, and is batting .349 with four homers and nine RBIs in 13 road games.
Sandoval is also batting .375 with 11 RBIs over his last 16 games versus Pittsburgh.
Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is slated to get his first start in almost seven years Thursday and take the mound against his former club for the first time.
A member of the Pirates from 2001-06, before stints in Japan and the minors, Vogelsong joins the rotation to replace Barry Zito - currently on the disabled list with a right foot injury.
Vogelsong has made two relief appearances this season, yielding three hits in 4 2-3 scoreless innings. He hasn't started a game since a Pirates loss at Philadelphia on Sept. 29, 2004.
The Giants aren't worried about Vogelsong's pitch count.
"Like anybody, we'll keep an eye on him when he gets in the middle of the game and go from there," pitching coach Dave Righetti told the team's official website. "But there is no certain number."
Vogelsong is 5-12 with a 6.27 ERA in 52 career appearances - 18 starts - at PNC Park. His ERA is the highest all-time for any pitcher who's thrown at least 75 innings at the park.
Pittsburgh has won three of its last five games, thanks largely to the pitching staff's 2.35 ERA during that stretch.
The Pirates will give Jeff Karstens (2-0, 3.94) a third spot Thursday start in place of the injured Ross Ohlendorf (right shoulder), who isn't expected back until next month.
Pittsburgh has won both of Karstens' starts in 2011, as he's yielded seven runs over 10 1-3 innings. The right-hander got credit for the win with a solid performance Saturday, when he yielded two runs in six innings of a 7-2 victory over Washington.
Karstens has not faced the Giants since Sept. 7, 2008, when he surrendered eight runs - five earned - in three innings of an 11-6 loss.