PITTSBURGH — The Giants at least put a twist on things Saturday night. Their lineup did not strike out quite as often. Their starting pitcher lasted just a bit longer.
But the end result was the same.
Tony Watson, a former Pirate, hit Jordy Mercer with the bases loaded in the eighth inning of a tie game. The Giants lost 6-5, dropping their sixth straight game in the state of Pennsylvania. Watson had been just about perfect until returning to his longtime home, but he has given up late runs in both games of this series.
Here are the other details...
—- Jeff Samardzija’s stuff took a noticeable tick up in the fifth and sixth, and he was a strike away from a quality start and an outing to build off. But with two outs and two strikes in the sixth, Francisco Cervelli smoked a two-run homer into the right field seats. After a single, Samardzija’s day was done. He was charged with five earned. He has a 6.94 ERA.
—- Andrew McCutchen got ovations before all of his at-bats again, and he doubled the second time up. It appeared he wanted to show the Pirates he’s still got that speed. Per Statcast, he was going 29.7 feet/second on his way to second, his fastest recorded time this year and the fourth fastest by a Giant. McCutchen also doubled and scored in the seventh.
—- Alen Hanson drilled a solo shot to right to tie it up in the top of the second. The homer was his fourth since getting into the Giants’ starting lineup. He never hit a homer in 92 at-bats for the Pirates in 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately, he appeared to hurt himself running the bases in the eighth.
—- Evan Longoria got the Giants on the board with a laser shot to left. The homer was his team-leading eighth. All the dudes who played third base for the Giants last season combined for just nine homers.
CINCINNATI -- Matt Harvey took a no-hit try into the sixth inning, Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera backed him with home runs and the Cincinnati Reds dominated Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants 7-1 on Saturday night.
Scooter Gennett had three hits for the second straight night and scored three runs, Peraza had two hits and scored twice and Brandon Dixon drove in two runs with a bases-loaded double. Cincinnati sent the Giants to their third straight loss after winning three in a row.
Harvey (6-7) didn't give up a hit until there were two outs in the sixth, when Joe Panik beat out a grounder that shortstop Peraza backhanded deep in the hole.
Harvey threw 6 1/3 shutout innings, allowing four hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He drew a standing ovation as he walked to the dugout, and improved to 6-5 in 17 starts for the Reds since being acquired from the Mets for catcher Devin Mesoraco on May 8.
Bumgarner (4-5) turned in the worst of his 14 starts this season, setting season highs by allowing six runs and eight hits in six innings.
Peraza led off a three-run fourth with a line shot into the left field seats. Dixon capped the inning with a broken-bat blooper down the right field line.
The Reds added two runs in the fifth on Phillip Ervin's bases-loaded sacrifice fly. Peraza scored from third and Gennett came around on center fielder Stephen Duggar's throwing error. Herrera led off the sixth with his third homer of the season.
The Giants scored their only run when the Reds couldn't complete a double play on Evan Longoria's bases-loaded grounder with one out in the eighth.
Giants: RHP Hunter Strickland was activated from the 60-day disabled list. The team saves leader with 13 was out since June 10 with a fractured right hand. INF Pablo Sandoval was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Sandoval has been out since July 30 with a strained right hamstring.
Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (4-8) allowed five runs in six innings of a 6-3 Reds win on May 16 in San Francisco.
Reds: After allowing one home run in five July starts, RHP Luis Castillo (6-10) has been roughed up for three in his two August outings.
The Giants re-instated reliever Hunter Strickland from the 60-day DL Saturday ahead of their game against the Reds.
In corresponding moves, Dereck Rodriguez has been placed on the 10-day DL and Pablo Sandoval has been transferred to the 60-day DL.
Strickland missed the last two months with a fractured right hand after losing his temper in a blown save against the Marlins. After being taken out of a 5-4 loss at home, Strickland went into the dugout and punched a door with his throwing hand.
The Giants could certainly use Strickland out of the bullpen in the thick of a playoff race. Strickland is 3-3 with a 2.84 ERA and has 13 saves on the season.
On Friday night, the Giants lost in extra innings as Phillip Ervin took Ray Black deep in the 11th. The Giants (61-61) are seven games back in the NL West and 6.5 games back in the wild card race.