San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) – It took a strong pitching performance from Charlie Morton, but the Pirates finally snapped their season-long 10-game skid, accomplishing the feat against the NL West leaders.
Garrett Jones had four hits and scored twice, and Ryan Ludwick knocked in two runs in Pittsburgh’s 5-0 triumph over the San Francisco Giants.
Morton (9-6) scattered six hits over eight innings to win for just the second time in his last eight starts. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts.
“He was very effective keeping the ball down,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He had a good breaking ball, good composure, good rhythm and tempo on the mound. It was an excellent outing for Charlie, just what we needed.”
It’s been tough going for the Pirates. Just two weeks ago they beat the Braves in Atlanta and were in first place with a 53-47 record. Then came a stretch of 12 losses in 13 games before Morton finally pitched the Buccos to victory Monday night. Pittsburgh stands 9 1/2 games behind NL Central-leading Milwaukee.
Despite losing for the ninth time in 11 games, the Giants managed to stay in first in their division, by a half-game over Arizona. That’s because the Diamondbacks have floundered of late too, dropping four of five contests.
Former Pirate Ryan Vogelsong (9-2) had his career-high six-game win streak broken after surrendering nine hits and five runs over five frames.
The Giants have scored six runs in their last five contests and have plated more than three just once in their last 11.
Just to magnify how much San Francisco has struggled offensively, the Giants went 0-for-10 with men in scoring position and are 20-for-125 (.160) over their last 18 games.
Also, their last 16 home runs have been solo shots. The last time they hit a homer that accounted for more than one run was when Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run shot on July 6 vs. San Diego.
Giants right fielder Carlos Beltran didn’t play Monday due to a strained right wrist. He underwent an MRI Monday.
“He’s still day-to-day,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said following Monday’s contest. “We’ll check on him tomorrow. I can’t tell you when he will play next. It could be tomorrow or we could wait until Friday. That’s what it is right now, sprained wrist.”
Jones doubled to right field with one out in the opening inning and Neil Walker hit the ensuing pitch for another double to right. With two outs, Ludwick singled to left for a 2-0 lead.
Eli Whiteside fanned to leave a pair of runners in scoring position in the San Francisco second.
With a base open, Ludwick was intentionally walked to fill the bags in the third. Vogelsong then threw four straight balls to Pedro Alvarez to force in the third run.
Pittsburgh tacked on two runs in the fifth on RBI singles from Ludwick and Brandon Wood.
With men on first and second in the bottom of the fifth, Jeff Keppinger grounded into a double play.
Vogelsong’s other loss this season came May 26 against Florida…The Pirates have gone 29-27 on the road this season after posting a 17-64 road record last season. This is their most road victories since getting 31 in 2007. The Bucs have been victorious in the first game on nine of their first 10 road trips this year…Pittsburgh has gone 49-0 when leading after eight innings.