Hot Pirates pound Heston in 7-4 win

The Giants came short in a long game against the Pirates, who needed three hours and 14 minutes to scratch out a a 7-4 comeback win over San Francisco Tuesday night.

Chris Heston, who had pitched at least six innings and gave up no more than one run in four of his five starts at home, allowed five runs in 3-2/3 innings of work. Heston looked vulnerable against the powerful Pirates. He threw very few, if any, fastballs and the powerful Pirates leapt on his breaking ones to the tune of seven hits.

This story has been updated with post-game quotes and additional material from the Giants clubhouse.

The game played out a lot like Monday night’s loss to the Bucs with Ryan Vogelsong on the mound.

Heston, like Vogelsong last night, gave the Pirates a rally inning. The third, this time, did it for Heston:

“I got away from attacking the zone. Just got away from throwing quality strikes … I needed to slow myself down (in the third) a little bit.”

Manager Bruce Bochy agreed:

“It just looked like he lost his command … That’s something he’ll get better at with experience…It was similar to the game last night.”

He added later:

“The big inning got us. We’ve been doing a good job of getting away from that.”

Heston’s day was brief, but his outing seemed longer as he relinquished the ball to long reliever Yusmiero Petit well into the night. The Bucs added on a couple more against Petit, and followed that familiar script.

The Giants, like last night, took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Buster Posey knocked in Joe Panik and Hunter Pence from second and third with an RBI double down the first base line off A.J Burnett.

And, again, outfield elements — whether they’re humans or walls — punished Andrew McCutchen when a potential base-clearing ball bounced perfectly off the Levi’s Landing wall into Pence’s bare hand, scoring one run instead of two in the third. McCutchen, a gamer, still went 4-for-5 with that double, a triple and two singles.

The Pirates followed McCutchen’s RBI with three more to take the 4-2 lead in the third.

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

Brandon Crawford pulled ahead in the Brandon home run race (both he and Belt were tied with seven before the game) with his team-leading eighth two-run shot to tie the game up at 4-4.

It was a home run that almost never was, though. An eager fan reached a bit over the left field wall to grab the ball, resulting in a fruitless, whopping 4-minute, 30-second challenge from Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

The tie lasted until the next inning, when Neil Walker singled to score McCutchen, who had tripled. Pittsburgh tacked on two more in the next two innings.

The Giants offense mirrored the struggles they had last night, going 1-for-12 with RISP. They posed a comeback threat in the eighth with runners on the corners and no outs, but left the runs hanging.

Said Bochy of the RISP regression:

“A timely hit and we’re right back in the game.”

And Buster Posey:

“I think we’re a good team. I think we could win 90 games.”

Notes

The Giants used four relievers in today’s loss, Petit pitched 2-1/3 innings and gave up two runs. Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo finished off the game. … Joe Panik‘s fourth-inning single extended his home hitting streak to 16 games…A.J. Burnett‘s win tonight gives him six wins in a row.


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