Three solo home runs were not enough for the Pittsburgh as they lost to the Giants 5-3 on Friday night at Oracle Park in San Francisco in the opener of a three-game series.
The Pirates (45-68) went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position against the Giants (55-57).
Oneil Cruz poked a dribbler down the left field line and legged out a double in the second inning, but Giants’ ace Carlos Rodón worked a pair of punchouts to strand him. The missed chance came back to haunt the Pirates immediately.
The first three Giants reached base in the home half of the inning via a home run by center fielder Mike Yastrzemski and two singles. Pirates starter Bryse Wilson escaped thanks to a 7-5-6-4-6 sacrifice fly double play, but not before another run scored.
Yastrzemski made it 3-0 in the third on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice, as first baseman Michael Chavis’ off-balance throw home failed to beat the runner.
This time the Pirates answered back fast, with third baseman Rodolfo Castro crushing a solo homer.
Cruz made a sensational out with a sliding stop and throw from his knees in the fifth, but Bryan Reynolds followed that by misplaying a Yastrzemski fly ball in center field that would’ve ended the inning.
Instead it fell—ruled an RBI double—as the Giants reclaimed a three-run lead at 4-1..
Rodón allowed a Ben Gamel home run and a Castro triple with two outs in the sixth, before ending his night with a strikeout of Cruz.
Lefty Thomas Szapucki replaced Rodón and allowed a leadoff home run to Greg Allen—his first as a Pirate—that made it 4-3. Left fielder Tucupita Marcano singled, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout, but Reynolds flew out to strand the tying run.
The Pirates loaded the bases with one out in the eighth but again came up empty with runners in scoring position.
Evan Longoria drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the frame then gave San Francisco breathing room, trundling home from first on a Luis Gonzalez double.
Giants closer Camilo Doval retired the side in the ninth to record the save.
The series continues Saturday at 9:05 p.m. ET, with the Pirates’ Tyler Beede (1-1, 3.57 ERA) starting against his former team.