SAN FRANCISCO – If anyone went for garlic fries in the fourth inning Friday night at AT&T Park, they missed the only sign of life from the Giants’ offense.
It consisted of a run-scoring bloop single off the bat of Roger Kieschnick that should have been the third out. After that, it was up to Madison Bumgarner to make one run stand, and the All-Star lefty wasn’t quite up to the task in a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Clint Barmes connected for a three-run homer off Bumgarner in the seventh for the only runs the visitors needed. Pittsburgh right-hander Charlie Morton (5-3) was good over 7 2/3 innings, but the Giants made him look better. They generated precious little contact all night and mustered just eight hits total. Buster Posey put a charge into a deep fly to the center field wall in the ninth, but other than that, it was a quiet night for the team in orange jerseys.
The Giants have been outscored 34-10 over the first five games of this seven-game homestand. They rank second-to-last in the National League in runs scored since the All-Star break.
Starting pitching report Bumgarner (11-8) was rolling, having not allowed a runner as far as third base through the first six innings. He only had three strikeouts to that point but was working efficiently, and his first complete game of 2013 definitely seemed a possibility.
Then the seventh inning hit.
Gaby Sanchez and Josh Harrison led off with consecutive hard-hit singles. Neil Walker sacrificed them over and that brought up Barmes, who had all of 16 RBI to his credit. Bumgarner missed with a slider, then Barmes fouled off another slider. The lefty tried to go down and in with the next pitch, and Barmes crushed it over the left-field wall for a 3-1 Pittsburgh lead. And that seemed insurmountable given the Giants’ offensive woes.
Bumgarner has been the rock of San Francisco’s rotation, posting a streak of 10 straight starts of seven or more innings during one midseason stretch. He entered Friday with a 2.13 ERA over his previous six starts, but he now has just one win over his last seven starts. He was solid Friday night – 8 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs, 5 strikeouts, 4 walks -- but needed to be better given the (lack of) run support.
Bumgarner did well to pitch deep in the game, leaving just one inning for Santiago Casilla to keep the game close. He did just that.
At the plate
Tony Bennett might have left his heart in San Francisco, but the Giants leave their bats in visiting ballparks.
They’re averaging 3.37 runs per game at AT&T Park this season (226 runs in 67 games). That’s the lowest scoring output at home of any team in the majors.
With Marco Scutaro out of the lineup, Gregor Blanco was back in the leadoff spot. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Too many Giants hitters swung at the first pitch, which usually resulted in a pop-up or weak grounder.
In the eighth, Brandon Crawford doubled with two outs. With a chance to get back in the game, Brandon Belt struck out on three pitches. It was that kind of night.
In the field
Pop flies were an adventure for both teams. Buster Posey and Brandon Belt nearly collided in the second as Belt pulled down a catch near the Pirates’ dugout. Then the Giants scored their first run when Roger Kieschnick’s two-out blooper fell in no-man’s land between three defenders and scored Buster Posey in the fourth. Other than that, nothing especially noteworthy from either team.
Paid attendance was 41,583. But when the home crowd’s highlight is the eighth-inning sing-along of “Don’t Stop Believin’,” things ain’t good.
The Giants will send Tim Lincecum (6-13, 4.53) to the mound Saturday to face lefty Francisco Liriano (14-5, 2.53) in a 6:05 p.m. game. Lincecum has allowed 11 runs on 16 hits over his last two starts (11 IP).