It’s tough to sweep the defending World Champions even after taking the first two games of the series with a lot of offensive firepower. Some nights, it’s just not there, and this was one of those nights for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucs were humbled by Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants, dropping the final game of the three-game series, 10-0.
However, Charlie Morton’s first start back since having Tommy John surgery looked promising. Morton threw five innings, allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out five. He struggled with control on his breaking pitches, but overall, for a first start, both he and manager Clint Hurdle took some positives out of it.
“I think he did some things well, and he’s got some area I think he’ll be able to improve upon,” Hurdle said. “There’s room for improvement, but for being out a year, first time back out on a Major League, you know, I think there are some things we can definitely work with.”
The fastball control was there, but hitting three batters with the same breaking pitch put runners on base that the Giants capitalized on.
The Giants scored early, often and never looked back throughout the game. Pittsburgh couldn’t generate any offense off of Matt Cain and sat back to watch San Francisco take control of the game.
The Giants top of the order produced in the first few innings, piling up a 4-0 lead thanks to multiple hits and RBIs by Gregor Blanco, Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence.
Despite the runs, Morton took some positives out of his first few innings.
“I got ground balls, struck a few guys out and after the first inning, I didn’t walk anybody,” Morton said. “Those are all positive things.”
The Giants really broke the game open in the sixth off of Bucs’ reliever Mike Zagurski. After RBI’s, again, by Blanco and Posey, Pence decimated a fastball by Zagurski into the deepest part of the ballpark for a three-run homer, putting the Giants up 9-0.
San Francisco tacked on an extra run in the top of the ninth, a sacrifice fly by Crawford to bring in Nick Noonan, setting the final score at 10-0.
“You have an idea of how you want your first start to go,” Morton said after the game. “You want to show your team that you’re good to go and you’re better than were before. But I wasn’t looking to this start to validate what I went through in rehab.”
“I wasn’t looking for this start to say, ‘I’m back, this is it.’,” Morton added. “It’s a part of a process, a very long process.”
The Pirates start a three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday at PNC Park. Jeff Locke (5-1, 2.39 ERA) gets the start in place of A.J. Burnett (15-day DL, retroactive to 6/9/2013) against Stephen Fife (1-1, 3.78 ERA) with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.