The Giants wasted one of their best pitching performances of the year.
The staff, led by Kevin Gausman, struck out 17 on Friday night, but the lineup never got going and the Giants lost 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on a walk-off sacrifice fly in the 11th. The Giants had just four hits, one coming from their pitcher.
Gausman was dominant from the start and the lineup finally gave him a run in the eighth, with Brandon Crawford hitting a solo shot into the same set of seats where he once hit a pretty memorable grand slam. The homer was Crawford's first regular season blast at PNC Park and gave him eight this season, which is tied with Buster Posey and Brandon Belt for the team lead. Seven of Crawford's homers have given the Giants (23-15) the lead or tied the game.
Gausman was at just 91 pitches through eight, but the Pirates (16-22) opened the ninth with a pair of soft singles and Gabe Kapler called for closer Jake McGee, who gave up a game-tying single but then struck out three straight.
The Giants failed to score in the top of the 10th, putting the pressure on Tyler Rogers in the bottom of the inning. With the winning run on third (after it was placed on second) he struck out a pair, keeping the Giants alive.
The Giants took the lead when Slater fisted a single into shallow right, but they failed to tack on against a wild pitcher. The Pirates got their runner on second in the bottom of the inning and Adam Frazier immediately tripled off the right field wall for his fourth hit. He scored on Gregory Polanco's deep flyball.
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Sinking the Pirates
Gausman entered the night with 5.97 ERA in eight appearances against the Pirates, but it's a different Gausman who takes the mound these days. Friday's start was one of his best in two seasons in orange and black. Gausman allowed five hits and struck out a career-high 12, the most by a Giant since Madison Bumgarner had 14 in 2016.
Gausman had previously reached 11 strikeouts twice, both times coming with the Giants. He did it last August against the A's and last month against the Miami Marlins. He recorded 18 swinging strikes on Friday, 14 of them on his splitter.
Gausman is tied for the National League lead in innings and ranks third in ERA (1.84) behind only Jacob deGrom and Corbin Burnes.
Gausman wasn't just leading the way on the mound. He also did it at the plate early on.
Until Brandon Belt singled with two outs in the seventh, Gausman had the lone Giants hit. He bounced a single up the middle in the third inning to pick up his second hit of the year, which is also a career-high. Gausman had two big league hits coming into the season. He has two of the three hits this season by Giants pitchers.
In the middle of Thursday's game, Steven Duggar contributed with a big tie-breaking homer. This time, his mid-game moment was a spectacular diving catch in center field.
Duggar left his feet to rob Kevin Newman of a hit in the bottom of the fourth inning and keep Gausman out of a jam. The Pirates could have had runners on the corners with no outs, or possibly more, but Duggar made the play on a liner with a catch probability of just 15 percent.
Duggar quickly covered 50 feet to make the grab. By catch probability, it was the best play of the year by a Giants outfielder.