|Pittsburgh (56-60) «||1||0||3||0||1||0||3||0||1||9||9||0|
|San Francisco (64-54)||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||8||2|
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Pirates showed up in San Francisco mired in a 10-game losing streak with little going right. In two weeks, they'd fallen from first place to 10 games out.
Winning two from the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants did a lot as Pittsburgh heads off to face NL Central-leading Milwaukee in an important matchup of division rivals.
Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer, Jeff Karstens bounced back from his worst start of the season and the Pirates won their first series in three weeks with a 9-2 victory over the struggling Giants on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh is off Thursday before opening a weekend series with the Brewers, who have won all five previous meetings.
|More on Pirates at Giants|
"We'll find out after the Friday night game, but we're going in with some confidence," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We were able to put a foot down and win a series on the road."
Garrett Jones added an RBI single to continue his torrid August and help back Karstens (9-6), whose career-high nine strikeouts matched a season high for the team. Karstens, who ended a four-start winless stretch, gave up a season-high nine runs and nine hits in a 15-5 loss at San Diego last Friday.
"It's good for us, especially heading into Milwaukee," Karstens said.
Pablo Sandoval homered for the Giants, who began the day with a half-game lead over Arizona in the NL West. The Diamondbacks host Houston in a night game. San Francisco has led the division since June 25.
Jonathan Sanchez (4-7) walked McCutchen on four pitches and threw five straight balls to start the game. Sandoval came in from third and catcher Eli Whiteside hustled to the mound to chat with the left-hander, who was roughed up again in his second start since coming off the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Sanchez was done after 4 1-3 innings and hasn't won since June 2 at St. Louis.
McCutchen went 1 for 1 with three walks and a hit by pitch. He stole two bases and scored four runs -- most by a Pirate in a game this year. His 16th clout of the year put Pittsburgh ahead 3-1 in the third. The Pirates have homered in four of their last five games and eight of 12.
McCutchen was hit by a pitch leading off the seventh. Brandon Wood drove in a run that inning and Matt Diaz hit two run-scoring singles. Pittsburgh's Nos. 1-5 hitters went a combined 7 for 17 with six RBI, eight runs scored, seven walks and a hit batter. Jones is batting .389 (14 for 36) with five doubles, three homers and seven RBI this month.
With a power show on offense of late, Bucs pitchers also have allowed 18 homers over the last nine games. Sandoval connected in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1.
The Giants have hit 19 straight solo home runs, matching the 1914 Phillies' major league mark. Their last homer to score more than one run was a two-run drive by Nate Schierholtz on July 6 against San Diego.
San Francisco finished up a disappointing 3-7 homestand with its 10th loss in 13 games. The Giants have dropped three straight series at AT&T Park for the first time since losing six consecutive home series from May 12-June 18, 2008.
"We've got a lot of baseball left," outfielder Cody Ross said. "We've got to go out and play like champions. We're not doing it. We're kind of all in a rut and it seems like we can't dig ourselves out. We've got to do something."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the front office would discuss whether to stick with Sanchez. Lefty Barry Zito had been unimpressive in the fifth starter role and went back on the disabled list Aug. 1, but he could come off when San Francisco needs that pitcher again Aug. 16 in Atlanta.
"It has me a little concerned," Bochy said of the No. 5 spot. "We need that guy to help us win a ballgame, too. We haven't had a good start there in I don't know how many now."
Pirates first baseman Derrek Lee was a late scratch from the lineup with a recurring left hand injury. Hurdle said Lee's hand was very sore after he played the two previous nights following a four-game absence with the bruised hand. Lee was hit with a pitch from Chicago's Carlos Marmol last Wednesday.
Lee is batting .278 with two home runs and three RBI in four games since joining the Pirates in a trade from Baltimore.
|Jeff Karstens bounces back from his last start by striking out a career-high nine batters over six innings for the victory. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Andrew McCutchen, CF||1||4||1||2||3||0||0||.274|
|Steve Pearce, 3B||2||1||0||0||1||0||2||.216|
|a- Neil Walker, PH-2B||1||1||0||0||1||1||1||.274|
|Garrett Jones, 1B||5||0||1||1||0||1||2||.248|
|Ryan Ludwick, LF||4||2||3||1||1||0||1||.243|
|Matt Diaz, RF||4||0||2||2||0||0||2||.266|
|Xavier Paul, RF||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.267|
|Brandon Wood, 2B-3B||5||0||0||1||0||2||2||.220|
|Ronny Cedeno, SS||5||0||1||1||0||2||2||.247|
|Michael McKenry, C||5||0||1||0||0||3||3||.245|
|Jeff Karstens, P||2||1||0||0||1||2||1||.103|
|Daniel McCutchen, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brad Lincoln, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Joel Hanrahan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-walked for Pearce in the 7th|
|2B - Ryan Ludwick (19, Ramirez)|
|HR - Andrew McCutchen (16, Sanchez)|
|RBI - Andrew McCutchen 2 (66), Garrett Jones (45), Ryan Ludwick (69), Matt Diaz 2 (18), Brandon Wood (26), Ronny Cedeno (27)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ryan Ludwick (20), Matt Diaz (3), Ronny Cedeno (10)|
|SB - Andrew McCutchen 2 (19, 2nd base off Sanchez/Whiteside, 2nd base off Mota/Whiteside)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Walker-G. Jones|
|Jeff Karstens (W,9-6)||6||8||2||2||0||9||1||3.04|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Karstens 99-70, Daniel McCutchen 12-4, Brad Lincoln 14-7, Joel Hanrahan 10-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Karstens 5-4, Daniel McCutchen 1-1, Brad Lincoln 1-0, Joel Hanrahan 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jeff Karstens 26, Daniel McCutchen 3, Brad Lincoln 4, Joel Hanrahan 3|
|San Francisco Giants|
|Andres Torres, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.231|
|Jeff Keppinger, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||3||3||.298|
|Guillermo Mota, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.143|
|Chris Stewart, C||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.221|
|Pablo Sandoval, 3B||3||1||1||1||1||0||2||.310|
|Aubrey Huff, 1B||4||1||1||0||0||2||1||.249|
|Cody Ross, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.246|
|Orlando Cabrera, SS||4||0||1||1||0||2||2||.244|
|Aaron Rowand, LF||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.245|
|Eli Whiteside, C||3||0||2||0||0||1||2||.219|
|Jeremy Affeldt, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ramon Ramirez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Mark DeRosa, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.150|
|Jonathan Sanchez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.214|
|Santiago Casilla, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Mike Fontenot, PH-2B||2||0||0||0||1||1||1||.212|
|a-grounded out for Ramirez in the 9th|
|b-flied out for Casilla in the 5th|
|2B - Aubrey Huff (20, Karstens)|
|HR - Pablo Sandoval (13, Karstens)|
|SH - Jonathan Sanchez (1)|
|RBI - Pablo Sandoval (43), Orlando Cabrera (44)|
|2-OUT RBI - Pablo Sandoval (13), Orlando Cabrera (20)|
|SB - Andres Torres (14, 2nd base off Karstens/McKenry)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Cabrera-Keppinger-Huff, Cabrera-Huff|
|E - Orlando Cabrera (7, Throwing), Mike Fontenot (6, Misplayed grounder)|
|San Francisco Giants|
|Jonathan Sanchez (L,4-7)||4.1||4||5||4||4||6||1||4.29|
|IBB - Ludwick by Jeremy Affeldt|
|HBP - A. McCutchen (by Guillermo Mota)|
|WP - Jonathan Sanchez (5)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jonathan Sanchez 83-45, Santiago Casilla 3-3, Guillermo Mota 24-13, Jeremy Affeldt 37-20, Ramon Ramirez 17-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jonathan Sanchez 2-5, Santiago Casilla 1-0, Guillermo Mota 1-1, Jeremy Affeldt 3-1, Ramon Ramirez 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Jonathan Sanchez 21, Santiago Casilla 2, Guillermo Mota 6, Jeremy Affeldt 10, Ramon Ramirez 5|
|Attendance - 42603|
|Game Time - 2:55|
|Temperature - 65|
|Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - Ed Rapuano, Third Base - Brian O'Nora|