The Pittsburgh Pirates took advantage of their last game before the All-Star break and midpoint of the season. The Bucs’ offense tore through San Francisco’s pitching and posted a 13-2 rout of the Giants on Sunday afternoon. The Pirates improved to 48-37 on the year and won their 10th game in the last 12 tries.
Behind a stellar day at the plate by Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen, A.J. Burnett and Brad Lincoln combined, to once again, give the Pirates a solid day from the mound. Burnett threw six plus innings and only allowed two runs while Lincoln finished the game not allowing a single hit from the Giants’ offense.
“We were good all over the board today,” said manager Clint Hurdle after the game. “Offensively we showed up very good and had good at bats. It was just a nice finish.”
The Pirates chased a struggling two-time Cy Young winner in Tim Lincecum from the mound in just the fourth inning. Lincecum gave up seven hits and six runs in just three plus innings of work. The Pirates took advantage of Lincecum leaving pitches up and in the zone and completely dominated throughout the first few innings of the game.
Neil Walker opened up the game in the bottom of the first inning with a double to right field. Andrew McCutchen belted a two-run homer to deep right center field to give the Pirates an early 2-0 lead. The following inning, Walker absolutely crushed a solo home-run to center field to extend the Pirates lead to 3-0.
The fourth inning is when the Pirates really opened up the field with their offense. A lead-off single by Casey McGehee, a walk to Rod Barajas and a bloop single to short left field by Clint Barmes loaded the bases for the Bucs. A.J. Burnett helped out his own cause with a single up the middle to bring in McGehee.
The RBI for Burnett was the 10th of his career and his first since Aug. 9, 2005 in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks when he was still with the Marlins.
Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy pulled Lincecum after Burnett’s single, but reliever Clay Hensley was no better against the Pirates’ offense. Drew Sutton hit a sacrifice fly in the next at bat to bring in Barajas and move Barmes over to third. Walker struck once again in the inning and smacked a two-out single to extend the Pirates lead to 6-0 before the end of the frame.
In the bottom of the fifth, Garrett Jones led off with a single, and McGehee doubled to put runners on second and third. Barmes hit a weak, two-out infield single toward third base to bring and Jones, putting the Bucs up 7-0.
The top of the Pirates order produced runs again in the sixth. Walker singled for his fourth hit on the day, and McCutchen singled to put two runners on base. McGehee stepped up and hit a deep ball to left center to bring in both teammates. McGehee was injured on the play and left the game with a mild left groin strain. Gorkys Hernandez replaced McGehee as a pinch runner on first.
Pedro Alvarez contributed in the sixth by hitting a sharp ground ball to second, reaching on an error by Ryan Theriot and then moving to second on a throwing error toward home as Theriot tried to throw out Hernandez. Hernandez scored safely on the error and put the Pirates up 10-0.
The Giants finally got on the board in the top of the seventh. Buster Posey lined a double into right field, and Pablo Sandoval followed that up with a home run to deep center field.
With the score at 10-2 in the bottom half of the frame, Walker had his fifth and final hit on the day with a two-out single.
“I’m not trying to do too much,” said Walker of his success on the day. “I’ve been trying to simplify things.”
McCutchen homered in the next at bat for the second time on the afternoon, extending the Pirates’ lead to 12-2. Today was McCutchen’s third multi-homer game on the season and the seventh of his career.
“I just put a good swing on it,” said McCutchen of the homers he hit on the afternoon. “I’m just trying to stay on the ball.”
The Pirates added another run in the eighth, setting the final score at 13-2.
Ending the first half of the season on a positive note is something the Pirates were trying to do—and they accomplished just that.
“It feels more real and more powerful,” said Walker, comparing this season to last. “We’re trying to not get ahead of ourselves but confidence is at an all-time high in here.”
The Pirates have a few days off for the All-Star break but will play again on July 13 against the Milwaukee Brewers. Starters will be announced prior to the end of the All-Star break.