Giants

Giants notes: Suarez wanted two pitches back; catcher in SF on taxi squad

Giants notes: Suarez wanted two pitches back; catcher in SF on taxi squad

SAN FRANCISCO — Coming off the worst start of his career, Andrew Suarez actually felt alright about his performance Thursday night. When he looked back on it, he saw two pitches he wanted back. But, man, did those two pitches do some damage. 

Suarez threw a hanging curveball to Elias Diaz and followed that up with a handling slider to Josh Bell. Both found the seats, and the Pirates took a 3-0 lead they never gave up. They won 10-5, handing Suarez his eighth loss. 

“With Diaz, I just left it up and he made a good swing,” Suarez said. “With Bell, it was a hanging slider and he hit it pretty good.”

Suarez has given up 17 hits in his last two starts. He was much better after the brief flurry, but the damage had been done. 

“He just is catching too much of the plate,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He got better as he went and started making better pitches, but more than anything it’s his command. They were aggressive against him and took advantage of some pitches in the middle of the plate.”

—- For the second time in a week, a catcher was brought up on the taxi squad. This time it was Aramis Garcia, the third catcher on the 40-man roster, who brought his gear to AT&T Park and waited for the result of a concussion test. Nick Hundley was watched closely after taking a foul tip off the mask Tuesday, but he was fine in pre-game drills and stayed active. 

Garcia should be back in about three weeks. He was recently promoted to Triple-A after posting a .230/.283/.390 slash line for Richmond with 11 homers. Garcia got off to a really slow start but had a .862 OPS since the Double-A All-Star break. 

“He’s really come a long ways with the catching part and receiving and he’s doing a good job there,” Bochy said. “The bat is going to play.”

—- Brandon Belt did pre-game running and took BP. He should be ready to return sometime early next week. The Dodgers face Clayton Kershaw on Monday, so probably at some point after that. 

—- Barry Zito was out there before the game singing the national anthem. He seems to be enjoying retirement.

Giants digging hole with first-inning woes, and they might not have solution

Giants digging hole with first-inning woes, and they might not have solution

PITTSBURGH -- Madison Bumgarner was mad at himself for digging too big a hole Friday night, and he certainly did just that. But as the Giants move past the 20-game mark, it's clear that it's another part of the team mostly digging the holes. 

The Giants are the only team in the Majors without a run in the first inning and they have scored first just six times in 21 games. When Bumgarner gave up four in the bottom of the first Friday, that was all it took. The Giants had not, of course, done any damage in the top of the inning. They would lose 4-1 on their first night with the Pirates. 

The first-inning woes have been there since the first at-bats of the season. The Giants are 6-for-66 in the first inning, and all six of the hits have been singles. They have just two walks in 21 first innings and have struck out 21 times. 

"Not scoring early again, that's making every game an uphill climb for us," manager Bruce Bochy said. 

Friday's script was familiar. After an 85-minute rain delay, Steven Duggar opened the night by striking out. He is 3-for-17 while leading off games, with seven strikeouts. Joe Panik, who is batting .193, also struck out and Buster Posey, batting .217, grounded out to second.  

Bochy said the staff is talking about changes that can be made, but they are limited by their personnel. Kevin Pillar also brings speed, but he's batting just .167. Gerardo Parra is at .224. Up and down the lineup, there is nobody hitting, or reaching base at a rate that screams "put me up near the top of the lineup!"

"There's not a lot that you can do at this point," Bochy said. "These are our guys and you can move them a spot or two. But wherever you hit in the order, those guys have to come through. You look at the back end of (Pittsburgh's) order and they did a pretty good job in the first inning."

Bumgarner retired the first two batters he faced before walking third baseman Jung Ho Kang, who entered batting just .130. Josh Bell singled and Francisco Cervelli hit a two-run double. The exit velocity barrage continued a bit longer, and singles by Pablo Reyes and JB Shuck made it 4-0 before the rain drops on the dugout seats had even had time to dry. Bumgarner threw 38 pitches in the inning. 

"They weren't all bad pitches but a lot of them were," he said. "You've got to give those guys credit. With two outs and nobody on, to score four, that's hard to do even in batting practice."

[RELATED: Marte, Gonzalez collide violently]

The first-inning blip was the only one for Bumgarner, who has always had a good time in this park. In his next five innings he allowed just two singles and struck out six. 

But the damage had been done. It was an uphill climb, and as they've done for most of a month now, the Giants didn't approach the summit.

Watch Pirates' Starling Marte, Erik Gonzalez collide violently vs. Giants

Watch Pirates' Starling Marte, Erik Gonzalez collide violently vs. Giants

There was a really scary moment in the top of the eighth inning between the Giants and Pirates on Friday night.

Giants infielder Yangeris Solarte popped a ball up between second base. Pirates center fielder Starling Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez converged on the ball and collided violently in center field.

Both players stayed down for several minutes. The Pirates' trainer raced out to check on both players and had to keep switching between Marte and Gonzalez since both were in considerable pain.

[RELATED: Duggar robs Musgrove of extra bases]

Gonzalez was able to walk off on his own power, but a cart was brought out to take Marte to the clubhouse.

The Pirates have yet to release an injury update on the players, but let's hope both players didn't suffer any type of serious injury.