Giants off to perfect start in second half with Pirates sweep

Giants off to perfect start in second half with Pirates sweep originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Giants stayed hot Sunday with a hard-fought 8-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, earning their fifth straight win dating back to before the MLB All-Star break despite a quiet day at the plate — until extras, that is.

Alex Wood started on the hill for San Francisco and threw just 67 pitches in his outing, allowing one run on five hits over 3 2/3 innings. He escaped early trouble in the first, when Giants first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr. made a nice catch in foul territory with runners on first and third.

The Pirates’ lone run off Wood came in the second inning during a rally made possible by an unlucky missed strike call to Connor Joe, which walked the former Giant instead of striking him out.

Wood eventually escaped a bases-loaded jam that inning having allowed the one run, and the Giants took the lead in the third on a J.D. Davis single and ensuing bobble by Pirates right fielder Henry Davis.

Then, Giants rookie Luis Matos drove in San Francisco’s third run on a soft groundout to second that allowed Joc Pederson to score and knocked Pirates starter Osvaldo Bido out of the game.

After that, it was up to the Giants’ bullpen to hold onto the lead after Wood was pulled in the bottom of the fourth.

Tristan Beck finished the fourth inning and pitched the fifth without surrendering a run, but Pittsburgh pulled within one of San Francisco’s lead in the sixth when Davis doubled off Beck, stole third then scored on a groundout by Jared Triolo to make it 3-2.

Beck tossed 3 1/3 innings for the Giants, then Tyler Rogers came in for the eighth. Andrew McCutchen singled, then Tyler walked two before allowing Triolo to tie the game 3-3 with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly.

Tyler’s twin brother Taylor Rogers replaced him with the game on the line, immediately striking out Tucupita Marcano but then hitting Nick Gonzales to load the bases back up. Fortunately for the twins and the Giants, Taylor struck out Jason Delay to end the eighth.

Looking to regain the lead in the ninth, the Giants sent Patrick Bailey, Brandon Crawford and Casey Schmitt to the plate and David Bednar retired all three. Then, Ryan Walker took the mound for San Francisco in the bottom of the ninth and pitched a perfect frame — setting up the extra-inning fireworks for the Giants and earning the win in relief.

Wilmer Flores singled in the 10th inning, moving bonus runner Schmitt to third and setting up Pederson for the go-ahead RBI on a sac fly to center field. Michael Conforto followed that up with a two-run double to give the Giants a 6-3 lead, then Patrick Bailey busted the game wide open with a two-run double of his own.

Scott Alexander wrapped things up for the Giants in another come-from-behind victory despite allowing one run to score, making the final 8-4.

The Giants ended the first series of their 11-game road trip — one of their longest of the 2023 MLB season — on a positive note, improving to 11 games over .500 and gaining half a game in the NL West standings. Next, they’ll look to keep their winning streak going as they head to Cincinnati for a four-game set against the Reds.

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