Giants sticking together in pursuit of division title

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Giants sticking together in pursuit of division title

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants trail the Los Angeles Dodgers in the N.L. West by a 12 game. In 2010, they entered the break trailing by two games and went 45-29 en route to a World Series title. In 2011, they entered the break leading the division by three games, went 34-36 and missed the playoffs.

Are there positives to glean from the past about running just behind the pace horse?

"You know what, there could be," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "It might give you that fire that says you've gotta step it up in the second half.

"Maybe it adds a little more intensity, maybe it adds a little more fun."

Fun is something the Giants know, and the vibe in the clubhouse Friday as players returned from the All-Star break was that of old friends reuniting -- showing off sunburns and vacation images captured on smart phones.

"I was missing them already, man, after three days!" Angel Pagan said. "That's something that's pretty cool. That you look forward to get back with your teammates and go to war."

Bochy noticed it too.

"The break is nice, and we had some guys that needed it, but it's good to get back. After a couple days, you're excited to get back, can't wait to get back.

"We're like a family."

The Giants, who have dropped seven of their last nine games entering the break, will need to come together as a family and turn things around for a second-half push. The Diamondbacks took a three-game winning streak into the break and 2011 N.L. MVP runner-up Matt Kemp is back in the Dodgers lineup after missing 51 games in the first half.

Do the Giants have enough in the clubhouse to win the West? Friday's starter Madison Bumgarner tackled the question on Chronicle Live Thursday.

"I think so," Bumgarner said. "If we didn't think so, that'd be our first problem."

The team support started early Friday with Pablo Sandoval, Angel Pagan and Nate Schierholtz taking batting practice in front of an empty stadium in shorts, working on their swings together.

"It's something that feels really good," Pagan said. "When you have teammates that look out for each other. When someone struggles, somebody's got your back. There's no better feeling than that, and that's the type of clubhouse we have."

Giants lineup: After 10-3 loss, Bochy makes no changes; Pitcher recalled

Giants lineup: After 10-3 loss, Bochy makes no changes; Pitcher recalled

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Pirates-Giants coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming right here.

Despite mustering just three runs on Monday night, the Giants will trot out the same lineup on Tuesday night against the Pirates.

The Giants also made a roster move prior to Tuesday's game. Pitcher Chris Stratton was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento while infielder/outfielder Orlando Calixte was optioned to Sacramento.

Pittsburgh Pirates:
1. Starling Marte (R) LF
2. Josh Harrison (R) 2B
3. Andrew McCutchen (R) CF
4. David Freese (R) 3B
5. Josh Bell (S) 1B
6. Jose Osuna (R) RF
7. Francisco Cervelli (R) C
8. Jordy Mercer (R) SS
9. Jameson Taillon (R) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Hunter Pence (R) RF
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Madison Bumgarner (R) P

Listless Giants roughed up by Pirates in ejection-filled series opener

Listless Giants roughed up by Pirates in ejection-filled series opener

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Pittsburgh Pirates kept clearing the fences, and the San Francisco Giants were left arguing plate umpire Chris Conroy's tough strike zone.

Even Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle understood the beef.

Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run homer and had four RBIs, Gerrit Cole won for the fifth time in six starts, and the Pirates beat San Francisco 10-3 on Monday night.

"I think there was some frustration really all night," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who watched most of the game from his office after an ejection in the second. "I don't think he had a real good night, to be honest, as far as consistency, but that really had nothing to do with what happened tonight. We gave up three-run homers."

Jordy Mercer added a three-run shot of his own in the eighth to further back Cole (8-7), 5-1 in his last eight starts. That lone defeat came June 30 as San Francisco swept the Pirates at Pittsburgh from June 30-July 2 - the Giants' first in the series since 2009.

This time, Pittsburgh immediately jumped on San Francisco starter Matt Cain (3-9), who matched the longest losing streak of his career at eight games - also done from July 28, 2015-May 10, 2016.

Bochy was tossed by Conroy for arguing balls and strikes in support of Cain moments after McCutchen connected, the skipper's second time being tossed this year. San Francisco pitching coach Dave Righetti then got tossed in the ninth.

"It was a tough zone," Hurdle said. "They lost two people on their side thrown out of the game."

Cole allowed two runs on six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked four.

He improved to 4-1 in six career starts against San Francisco. The Pirates won their seventh straight game at AT&T Park and ninth in 10, including sweeps both last year and in 2015.

Buster Posey hit a pair of RBI singles in San Francisco's fourth loss in five games.

McCutchen hit his 18th homer as the Pirates cleared the fences in San Francisco for a sixth straight game. His RBI groundout in the first started things off for a Pittsburgh club that had lost back-to-back games on the heels of a season-best, six-game winning streak, including a 13-3 flop in the finale against the Rockies on Sunday at Coors Field.

Josh Bell and Starling Marte each doubled home a run and Josh Harrison added an RBI single.

"This offense is good, we've shown that," McCutchen said.

Cain matched his second-shortest outing of the year at four innings and is winless in his last 11 starts, the longest by a Giants pitcher since the right-hander went 15 outings without a victory during his previous eight-game skid.

CHEERS TO THE HOME RUN KING:
Former slugger Barry Bonds, who played for both teams, received a greeting on the scoreboard for his 53rd birthday but the career home run king wasn't in the stands.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Pirates: OF Gregory Polanco, who strained his left hamstring Friday at Colorado and landed on the 10-day disabled list, tested his leg with some straightaway running and was going to do some riding on the stationary bike with the hopes he can hit in the cage soon. Hurdle said he did witness Polanco scurry across a street to avoid being hit by a car, then acknowledged it wasn't that close a call. ... With an off day Thursday at San Diego, the starters will get an extra day of rest.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto played catch and said the trouble spots on three of his pitching fingers are greatly improved. He said they aren't true blisters. The plan is for him to play catch again Tuesday and perhaps throw off the mound Wednesday if all continues to go well. ... Closer Mark Melancon had the day off as he recovers from a second DL stint with a strained forearm. He will throw a bullpen session Tuesday, Bochy said, and face hitters this weekend in Los Angeles if ready.

UP NEXT:
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (6-3, 3.08 ERA) is 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA in seven starts since returning from the DL on June 12, just more than a month after surgery for testicular cancer. He seeks his first decision against the Giants in two starts.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 3.57) tries again for his first victory of 2017 in his third outing back from missing nearly three months following a dirt bike accident April 20 in Colorado.