Instant Play: Giants unable to respond to Pirates early HRs

Instant Play: Giants unable to respond to Pirates early HRs
July 29, 2014, 9:45 pm
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The Pirates drove in three runs off seven hits against the Giants. (USATSI)

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO – Michael Morse hit his first home run at AT&T Park since May 15.

And there you go.

That’s it.

There’s your highlight Tuesday night in a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Hope you enjoyed the show.

The Giants offense still cannot function at AT&T Park, and if not for that one swing in the second inning, they would’ve been shut out for the 13th time this season. It was pure poetry that the fan who tried to catch Morse’s home run ended up taking it in the gut.

Tim Hudson allowed a home run to the first batter he faced, Josh Harrison, and yielded a two-run shot to Travis Snider in the second inning. That was enough to send him to his sixth loss in eight starts.

The Giants are 6-21 at home since June 9.

Barf.

Starting pitching report

Hudson was coming off two solid starts in Miami and Philadelphia in which he didn’t allow a home run. In fact, he had given up just one homer over his previous six outings.

But Harrison led off the game with his eighth homer of the season. The lower half of the Pirates order contributed when No.6 hitter Ike Davis reached on an infield hit and Travis Snider followed with his seventh home run of the season.

This was Hudson’s first time working with a catcher other than Buster Posey this season, though, but rookie Andrew Susac appeared to have good catch-and-throw mechanics behind the plate.

Hudson made an adjustment and started filling the trough of the strike zone with cutters and sinkers. He only allowed two more hits the rest of the way, and stranded Jordy Mercer after a two-out triple in the fifth.

Hudson’s line: Seven innings, six hits, three runs (earned), one walk and two strikeouts. He threw a season-high 114 pitches for the second consecutive start.

Bullpen report

Jean Machi and Jeremy Affeldt kept it close, although that’s a relative term.

At the plate

Maybe they’re going for a minimalist aesthetic.

The Giants didn’t put up much of a struggle against one-time prospect Francisco Liriano, who was traded in 2003 to the Twins for He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Aside from Morse’s home run, his first in 38 home games, the Giants only had four other baserunners in seven innings against Liriano. They managed to advance one of them 90 feet, when Pablo Sandoval grounded out to third base. In the fourth. It’s hard to reward productive outs, though, when you make a whole mess of unproductive ones. Liriano set a season high with 11 strikeouts.

Dan Uggla was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and is 0 for 11 as a Giant. Susac worked a walk and showed a good feel for the strike zone but is still looking for his first big league hit after two appearances off the bench and one start.

Posey singled off Pirates closer Mark Melancon to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Sandoval flied out just short of the right field wall, Morse flailed at a third strike in the dirt and pinch hitter Travis Ishikawa, making his first plate appearance as a Giant since the 2010 World Series, struck out on three pitches to end it.

In field

Harrison made two difficult plays look easy at third base. The Pirates’ usual third baseman, Pedro Alvarez, easily could’ve botched both of them. It was the Giants’ misfortune that Alvarez had the night off.

Attendance

The Giants announced 42,242 paid. They continue to be a supportive lot here, bless them.

Up next

The Giants and Pirates conclude their three-game series on Wednesday at AT&T Park. Tim Lincecum (9-7, 3.96 ERA) takes the mound against right-hander and salt magnate Charlie Morton (5-10, 3.65). First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. PDT.

 

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