Ending a six-game losing streak at AT&T Park has the
Pittsburgh Pirates on the cusp of winning their first series there
in almost three years. Some improvement from their pitchers might
instill even more confidence.
The Pirates look to take two of three from the San Francisco
Giants on Wednesday afternoon.
Pittsburgh (4-4) is .500 after eight games for a second
consecutive season following a 6-5 win over the Giants (6-2) on
Tuesday night. The victory was the Pirates’ first at San Francisco
since Sept. 5, 2008, and came after they dropped four of five while
getting outscored 46-18.
“We definitely needed that after a couple of tough losses,” said
left fielder Garrett Jones, who collected three hits with two RBIs
Tuesday. “We got some big hits when we needed them and scored just
enough to win.”
Pittsburgh’s lineup is producing 5.01 runs per game after
ranking 28th in the majors at 4.04 last year. However, the club’s
pitchers haven’t taken advantage of that increased support.
The Pirates’ staff is last in the majors with a 7.46 ERA, while
the rotation has been even worse with a major league-worst 8.38
They’ll now turn to Charlie Morton (0-1, 21.60) in an effort to
win their first series at San Francisco since a three-game sweep
Aug. 10-12, 2007.
Morton was hit hard in his season debut during Friday’s 9-1 loss
at Arizona. The right-hander surrendered eight runs and nine hits
with one hit batter before being pulled with one out in the
“I just didn’t bear down,” said Morton, who also had six
strikeouts Friday. “I had good life on my fastball and I was
confident in it, then I started to fall behind throwing too much
off-speed stuff and not focusing on getting ahead with the
Morton hasn’t received much help in three starts against the
Giants, going 1-2 with a 2.37 ERA while getting three total runs of
support. He was impressive in his only start in San Francisco,
yielding two runs with five strikeouts in six innings of a 3-2 loss
Despite losing Tuesday, the Giants are still enjoying their best
start since going 13-1 in 2003 – the last year they won the NL West
and reached the playoffs.
Bengie Molina has feasted on Pirates’ pitching, hitting .591
with one homer and five RBIs in his last six games. The catcher is
also a big reason for San Francisco’s impressive start to 2010,
going 10 for 22 with a homer and a team-leading seven RBIs in six
games with six hits and four RBIs coming in this series.
Jonathan Sanchez (0-0, 6.23) is scheduled to take the mound
looking to improve upon a shaky season debut.
The left-hander allowed three runs and seven hits while striking
out six, but only lasted 4 1-3 of a 5-4, 13-inning win over Atlanta
He’s failed to complete six innings in each of his last six
starts, going 2-1 with a 5.52 ERA while fanning 29 in 29 1-3
Sanchez hasn’t done much better against the Pirates, going 0-1
with a 14.04 ERA in four games – two starts.