Giants win fifth straight thanks to wild pitch in extra innings

Giants win fifth straight thanks to wild pitch in extra innings


PITTSBURGH -- Pirates right-hander Daniel Hudson was only thinking about Giants star Buster Posey when he uncorked a full-count slider Saturday.

When the ball skipped in the dirt and got away from the catcher, Denard Span was ready to pounce.

Span sprinted home from third on Hudson's wild pitch in the 11th inning to give San Francisco a 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

With Span on third and Joe Panik at second, Hudson (1-4) choked a 3-2 breaking pitch to Posey, who is hitting .340 this season.

"If I was going to get beat there, I was going to get beat by the best pitch," Hudson said. "For a right-hander this year, that's my slider. I was just trying to make a quality pitch. If I walk him, I walk him. I just got a little bit too much bite on it and got a bad kick."

Hudson's pitch bounced ahead of the plate, glanced off catcher Elias Diaz and skidded into the dugout, allowing Span to score easily. Though it was Span that scored the run, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was quick to credit the battle of Posey, who fell behind 0-2, for the winning run.

"We've got a pretty good hitter up there, and he had a great at-bat," Bochy said. "Granted, he didn't knock him in, but they're being careful with him, and that helped induce the wild pitch."

Josh Osich (2-1) got the win. Sam Dyson pitched a scoreless 11th for his first save since being acquired from the Texas Rangers in early June.

In the ninth, Giants reliever Hunter Strickland walked the bases loaded but got Diaz to strike out looking. Diaz finished 0 for 5 with two strikeouts and left eight men on base.

Andrew McCutchenDavid Freese and Josh Bell - Pittsburgh's 3-4-5 hitters - combined for eight walks, including three each by Freese and Bell. The Pirates walked 10 times in total but left 15 men on base.

"We put them out there every inning, just about," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "At the end of the day, it's all about scoring runs. We worked to get out there, but we weren't able to get them in today."

Matt Moore worked around six walks and four hits to pitch one-run ball over 5 2/3 innings. The Giants starter escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first and left two on in the third. Moore was lifted for reliever George Kontos with the bases loaded in the sixth, and Kontos struck out Josh Harrison to end that threat.

Chad Kuhl went six innings for the Pirates, snapping a streak of 12 consecutive starts of five innings or fewer. Kuhl carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing a homer to Austin Slater. Kuhl was replaced for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth after throwing 75 pitches.

Bell's RBI single scored McCutchen in the third inning for the only Pirates run.

The Giants recalled RHP Chris Stratton from Triple-A Sacramento and optioned RHP Dan Slania, who made his major league debut on Friday with one scoreless inning. Stratton pitched in two games with San Francisco earlier this season and had a 5.71 ERA in 12 starts with Sacramento. He's expected to be used in the bullpen.

San Francisco pitching prospect Joan Gregorio was suspended for the remainder of the season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Gregorio, 25, was 4-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 13 starts with Sacramento.

Pirates OF Startling Marte will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Bradenton on Sunday. Marte has been serving an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug. He is eligible to be reinstated July 18.

Pirates: McCutchen was cleared to play after fouling a ball off his ankle Friday. ... C Francisco Cervelli (post-concussion symptoms) worked out extensively before the game for the second consecutive day.

Giants: 3B Eduardo Nunez (strained hamstring) went 1 for 3 with a double and a strikeout in his first rehab appearance with Double-A Richmond.

Giants: Jeff Samardzija (3-9, 4.63 ERA) will start in the series finale Sunday. In his career at PNC Park, he's 4-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 12 games.

Pirates: Trevor Williams (3-3, 4.82) has gone seven straight stars without recording a loss, but is just 1-0 in that stretch.

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.

Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential


Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For most pitchers, spring training is a time to experiment and add a pitch or two. Josh Osich is using this month to go the other direction. 

Osich spent the offseason watching film of his 2015 season, when he looked like he might one day be the closer in San Francisco, and decided that he needed to get back to his roots. That means the curveball, which he tried so hard to mix in last year, is now far back in the cupboard. The four-seam and two-seam fastballs are once again the focus, with an emphasis on changing eye levels more than he did a year ago. The changeup and cutter will round out his arsenal for the most part. 

Osich’s raw stuff is still as good as just about any lefty reliever in the league, and he hopes to take advantage of that while putting a rough 2017 season in his rearview mirror. He had a 6.23 ERA last season and 1.73 WHIP.

“It’s just one of those learning years,” Osich said. “I tried to live at the bottom of the zone and I was, but I was actually below the zone. So then I would fall behind and need to throw a strike and that’s when guys would hit me.”

Osich, 29, had a 2.20 ERA and 1.12 WHIP during that 2015 season that he keeps going back to. He walked eight batters in 28 2/3 innings, a far cry from the 27 he walked in 43 1/3 last year. While watching the 2015 version of himself, Osich saw that his hands were higher, and that’s something he’s working to replicate. He’s also trying to slow his pace to the plate. So far, the results are nothing but encouraging. Osich allowed one hit and struck out one in a 2 1/3 inning appearance on Wednesday night. Manager Bruce Bochy let him extend himself to keep the good vibes going. 

In six appearances this spring, Osich has allowed just four hits over seven scoreless innings. He has seven strikeouts and one walk. 

“O, it just seems like he’s got confidence,” Bochy said. “He’s kept it simple, he’s not tinkering with different pitches. He’s throwing more strikes, and more than anything he’s just trying to pound the strike zone now with quality strikes. That’s all he has to do. You look at him and he’s hitting 95 with a couple of good off-speed pitches. That works here.”