Pirates sweep away skidding Giants

Avert your eyes. Focus your attention on the Warriors in the NBA Finals, if you need. Because the Giants are skidding into June on a five-game losing streak after the Pirates swept the Giants with a 5-2 win Wednesday afternoon.

A five-game streak is a heavy load to carry on the plane to the White House to see old friend President Obama in celebration of their 2014 World Series triumph.

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

That trip down memory lane, and day off, ought to re-kindle a winning flame. If anything, it’ll be nice to catch up with Michael Morse, whose trip to the DL with Florida gives him a bit of time to fly up to D.C.

Tim Lincecum, though, won’t be at his third White House gathering — he’s flying straight to Philly to get rested. Pablo Sandoval also won’t be there.

Tim Hudson will make his first and much anticipated White House trip tomorrow:

“I’m gonna meet the President, so it’s going to be a good day.”

But today, after getting pegged in the quad by a Joey Mercer hit and taking his fifth loss on the season, was not a great day for Hudson:

“It wasn’t a fun day for me by any means … (the hit) got me on my massive quad. In my younger days I think I catch it.”

Hudson took the mound today and didn’t seem to miss a beat after a seven-inning win last week against his former team.

His performance Wednesday nearly mirrored that start; he gave up seven hits and two runs in seven innings of work. Huddy commanded his sinker, but his few mistakes proved costly.

The Giants took the early lead in the third, again, thanks to a two-out ground-rule double from Hudson himself. Nori Aoki advanced him to third on a hanging single and scored on Joe Panik‘s RBI single to put the Giants up 1-0. Panik’s single extending his on-base streak to 17 games, second-best in the majors.

Hudson’s double was his first extra-base hit since 2013, and for a moment it looked like it was going all the way out. But Huddy dismissed that notion, with a chuckle:

“That’s all I got honestly.”

But, again, the Giants couldn’t get anything going against Francisco Liriano, who pitched seven innings and gave up just four hits in his third straight win. He was working the Giants lineup — which was adjusted to give hot bats Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence the day off — with his two-seamer and whiff-able slider.

The very next inning, a two out single from Jose Tabata scored Andrew McCutchen, who had singled and advanced to second on a walk, tied the game right back at 1-1.

Hudson’s costliest mistake had to be a cutter that found its way right down the pipe. Jordy Mercer crushed it to deep left field for a solo shot, putting the Pirates up 2-1.

A comeback still seemed possible upon Hudson’s departure, but the bullpen crumbled.

Hunter Strickland took over and pitched a solid eighth inning, but gave up two hits in the ninth, and the Pirates capitalized.

With one out down, Tabata singled and pinch runner Starling Marte stole second and reached third on a throwing error from catcher Andrew Susac. Francisco Cervelli singled to bring Marte home and give the Pirates some breathing room.

That was it for Strickland, who surrendered the mound to Sergio Romo. The Bucs didn’t let up; Mercer doubled and Cervelli advanced to third. Pinch hitter Junh Ho Kang doubled to left to score the two easily and put the Pirates up 5-1.

The Giants, again, struggled to find that timely hit. They posed a one-out comeback threat in the bottom of the ninth: Andrew Susac, Gregor Blanco, and Brandon Belt hit consecutive singles to load the bases. But Brandon Crawford grounded into an RBI out to put the score at 5-2 and Aoki grounded out on the first pitch to end the game.

Huddy still feels good about the team:

“It’s a little bit of a skid we’re on, but we understand what kind of ball club we are.”

Notes

Jake Peavy‘s back is improving, so he will be resuming with his rehab assignment. … Hunter Pence took the day off after tweaking his wrist on the catch off Andrew McCutchen yesterday. … Brandon Crawford had some calf tightness.


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