Pittsburgh at San Francisco

Venue: AT&T Park
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After struggling on the road for almost a month, the Pittsburgh Pirates are off to a strong start on their seven-game California trip.

The NL Central-leading Pirates look to continue that success Friday night against the San Francisco Giants.

Pittsburgh (75-52) had dropped eight of 10 away from PNC Park before taking two of three at San Diego this week then rolling to a 10-5 win at San Francisco on Thursday. Jose Tabata's three-run double highlighted the Pirates' seven-run fifth inning that broke open a game tied at 3.

"This team, we believe in us and whatever it's going to take," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We don't always know how it's going to happen but we're going to keep playing and covering each other's back and keep having fun along with it."

Pittsburgh, 33-30 on the road, has a one-game lead over St. Louis in the Central.

Mired in a 6-for-40 slump on the road prior to the opener, Tabata had three hits. He was 1 for 19 in his previous five career games versus San Francisco.

With two hits and two RBIs on Thursday, teammate Pedro Alvarez matched last season's career high of 85 RBIs. He is 6 for 14 with six RBIs against the Giants (56-71) in 2013.

The Pirates hope Charlie Morton (4-3, 3.67 ERA) can deliver a fourth straight strong start when he takes the mound Friday. The right-hander has allowed two runs in each of his last three starts and gone 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA during that span.

He lasted seven innings and struck out six during a 4-2, 16-inning loss to Arizona on Sunday.

Morton fell to 2-4 with a 3.12 ERA against the Giants after he allowed four runs - two earned - in five innings of a 10-0 loss June 13.

While Pittsburgh continues its attempt at securing the club's first postseason appearance since 1992, the reigning World Series champion Giants have lost two straight and 22 of 31 at home.

The disappointment kept coming Thursday when the team announced outfielder Andres Torres could miss the rest of the season with a strained left Achilles' tendon. That came hours before Thursday's starter Matt Cain left in the fourth inning after taking a liner off his pitching arm.

``It's definitely not what we had planned with Pittsburgh coming in,'' Cain said.

San Francisco hopes to get back on track behind Madison Bumgarner (11-7, 2.82), who is 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA in his last three starts.

A lack of control plagued the left-hander Sunday when he allowed four runs and walked four while throwing 95 pitches over five innings before leaving without a decision in a 6-5 loss at Miami.

"It seemed like every pitch I threw (Sunday) was just a hair off and in the wrong direction,'' said Bumgarner, who has failed to record quality starts in two straight outings after doing so in his previous 10. "It was just kind of frustrating for me."

He allowed one run, nine hits and struck out 17 in 13 innings while going 1-1 in his only previous starts against the Pirates in 2011.

San Francisco second baseman Marco Scutaro delivered a tying, two-run single with just his second hit over 17 at-bats Thursday. However, he's batting .310 while hitting safely in eight straight games against the Pirates.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Charlie Morton, RHP
2013 stats
68.2 Innings Pitched 163.0
4-3 Wins-Losses 11-7
3.67 Earned Run Average 2.82
17 Walks 50
52 Strikeouts 157
86 Pitches Per Start 103
Career vs. opponent
49.0 Innings Pitched 13.0
2-4 Wins-Losses 1-1
3.12 Earned Run Average 0.69

Madison Bumgarner, LHP
Weather
weather image  Morning clouds. Cool.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
69°F57°F14mph/W68%2%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Pittsburgh2nd NL Central8874.54326-4 L 2
San Francisco2nd NL West8874.54364-6 W 2
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Madison Bumgarner
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Martin220001.000
Jones31001.333
Sanchez62002.333
Walker62001.333
Barmes102012.200
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Charlie Morton
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Arias330001.000
Blanco21010.500
Sanchez21000.500
Posey52012.400
Crawford31000.333
 

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Injuries
Pittsburgh
PlayerInjury
P. AlvarezFoot
C. MortonHernia
C. StewartWrist
San Francisco
PlayerInjury
M. CainElbow
A. PaganBack
M. ScutaroBack
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 6ARI 9:40 PM EDT  
Apr 7ARI 9:40 PM EDT  
Apr 8ARI 9:40 PM EDT  
Apr 16SF10:15 PM EDT  
Apr 17SF10:15 PM EDT  
Apr 18SF   
Apr 19SF 4:05 PM EDT  
Jun 12SF10:15 PM EDT  
Jun 13SF   
Jun 14SF 4:05 PM EDT  
Jul 17ARI 9:40 PM EDT  
Jul 18ARI 8:10 PM EDT  
Jul 19ARI 4:10 PM EDT  
Sep 7ARI 4:10 PM EDT  
Sep 8ARI 9:40 PM EDT  
Sep 9ARI 9:40 PM EDT  
Sep 18SF10:15 PM EDT  
Sep 19SF   
Sep 20SF 4:05 PM EDT