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San Francisco (33-31)1001202208151
Pittsburgh (39-26) «10304211x12181

Marte, Pirates batter Zito, extend Giants' road woes

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Starling Marte's precocious talent can sometimes get him in trouble at the plate.

The Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder can be in such a hurry to get on base, his bat tends to get ahead of itself.

A well-timed piece of advice helped him break out of a slump on Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants.

Told by several teammates to wait a beat longer before swinging, Marte slapped a career-high four hits and scored four times as the Pirates pulled away for a 12-8 victory.

"I think you know it goes back to pitch selection, seeing the ball up, trying to maintain discipline throughout the at-bat," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Something Marte lacked at times during a recent swoon following his scorching start.

Marte began the night in the midst of an 11 for 60 (.183) slump before pecking away at San Francisco's Barry Zito (4-5).

The 24-year-old leadoff man hardly seemed bothered by a run-in with San Francisco reliever George Kontos on Tuesday night, when Kontos threw behind Marte at one point in apparent retaliation for Pittsburgh's Tony Watson hitting Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro.

"Whatever happened yesterday was yesterday," said Marte, who added two stolen bases to push his season total to 20.

"I didn't think about it. Everybody wants to do their job. The pitchers have to do their job. That's how I got focused today."

Marte, Mercer and McCutchen combined to go 8 for 9 against Zito as the Pirates won for the fourth time in their past five games. Neil Walker and Alex Presley each hit a home run for Pittsburgh, which set season highs for runs and hits (18).

"It was a very good night for our offense to show up on a night it was challenging for everybody off the mound," Hurdle said.

Francisco Liriano (5-2) survived six erratic innings to pick up the victory.

Joaquin Arias knocked in three runs for the Giants and Hunter Pence doubled twice but San Francisco continued to struggle on the road. The defending World Series champions have lost 12 of 16 away from home.

Zito (4-5) allowed eight runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings as his road ERA ballooned to 11.28. He is 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA at AT&T Park.

"At home, I've caught some breaks and kept stuff done in the zone and I haven't on the road," Zito said. "I've felt pretty good in some of these starts out on the road, but I just haven't been able to get people out."

A night after Pittsburgh lit up San Francisco in an 8-2 victory in support of rookie pitcher Gerrit Cole, the Pirates kept it going.

McCutchen hit a two-run double in the third as the Pirates took a 4-1 lead. The Giants responded to briefly tie the game on a two-run double by Arias in the top of the fifth.

It didn't stay knotted long. Marte and Mercer led off the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles.

Marte scored on a fielder's choice and Pedro Alvarez chased Zito for good with a double off the wall in right. Walker greeted reliever Jose Mijares with a two-run single and the Pirates were in control.

"The top of the order was really special tonight, the runs, the hits," Hurdle said. "They just kept fueling us from the first inning through the eighth."

Pittsburgh's lead grew to 10-4 after Presley's pinch-hit homer and an RBI double by Gaby Sanchez, but the Giants hung in there on a night manager Bruce Bochy watched from the clubhouse.

Bochy was suspended one game and reliever George Kontos was suspended three games and fined after Kontos threw at Marte then hit McCutchen in the rear on Tuesday. Kontos was sent down to Triple-A before the suspension was announced.

Bench coach Ron Wotus stepped in for Bochy and pointed to the late surge as evidence the Giants are starting to get things going.

"They prevailed but we at least kept battling and we had a nice little breakout on offense," Wotus said.

San Francisco pulled within 11-8 after Buster Posey's two-run single off Watson in the eighth but Sanchez doubled in McCutchen in the bottom of the inning. Closer Jason Grilli worked a perfect ninth in a rare non-save situation.

Liriano lacked the firepower of his past two starts, when he combined for 19 strikeouts. The left-hander struck out only two and walked three while tying his season high with four runs allowed.

Notes

  • Walker's fifth home run of the season was originally ruled a double but overturned when replay showed the ball struck a seat in the first row of left-field stands.
  • Cole, who went 6 1/3 innings in his major-league debut on Tuesday, will start again on Sunday when the Pirates play host to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • San Francisco 2B Tony Abreu went 3 for 5 in his first start of the season. Abreu started in place of Scutaro, who is out indefinitely with ligament damage.
  • Bochy said injured 3B Pablo Sandoval had a "hop in his step" the day after being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained tendon in his left foot. Sandoval was hitting .289 at the time of the injury.
  • Pittsburgh RHP Charlie Morton makes his first start since having Tommy John surgery a year ago on Thursday when he starts in the series finale. Matt Cain (4-3, 5.09) starts for the Giants.
 
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Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

A. McCutchen
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
San Francisco

J. Arias
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
 
San Francisco Giants
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Andres Torres, LF4310101 .270
Tony Abreu, 2B5330010 .400
Buster Posey, C5022013 .299
Hunter Pence, RF4221101 .294
Joaquin Arias, 3B5023002 .250
Brandon Belt, 1B4020102 .251
Juan Perez, CF3021002 .500
    Sandy Rosario, P0000000 .000
   a- Nick Noonan, PH1000010 .197
Brandon Crawford, SS4010003 .287
Barry Zito, P2000001 .200
    Jose Mijares, P0000000 .000
   b- Brett Pill, PH1000000 .148
    Ramon Ramirez, P0000000 .000
    Javier Lopez, P0000000 .000
    Gregor Blanco, CF1000001 .264
Totals39815733  
a-struck out for Rosario in the 9th
b-grounded out for Mijares in the 6th
Batting
2B - Tony Abreu (2, Watson), Hunter Pence 2 (20, Liriano, Liriano)
SF - Juan Perez (1)
RBI - Buster Posey 2 (37), Hunter Pence (32), Joaquin Arias 3 (8), Juan Perez (2)
2-OUT RBI - Buster Posey 2 (14), Hunter Pence (18), Joaquin Arias 3 (4)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Juan Perez 1
DP - Perez-Arias, Crawford-Belt
E - Joaquin Arias (1, Throwing)
San Francisco Giants
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Barry Zito (L,4-5) 4.21188140 4.79
Jose Mijares 0.1100000 2.31
Ramon Ramirez 1433102 11.12
Javier Lopez 0.2000000 1.69
Sandy Rosario 1.1211020 6.75
Pitches-Strikes - Barry Zito 86-53, Jose Mijares 6-5, Ramon Ramirez 25-12, Javier Lopez 8-6, Sandy Rosario 20-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Barry Zito 3-5, Javier Lopez 1-1, Sandy Rosario 1-1
Batters Faced - Barry Zito 24, Jose Mijares 2, Ramon Ramirez 8, Javier Lopez 2, Sandy Rosario 6
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starling Marte, LF5440010 .289
Jordy Mercer, SS5230011 .278
Andrew McCutchen, CF5233013 .297
Gaby Sanchez, 1B4031100 .252
Russell Martin, C4112100 .251
Pedro Alvarez, 3B5111005 .215
Neil Walker, 2B4123000 .257
Brandon Inge, RF3000021 .210
    Justin Wilson, P0000000 .000
   a- Garrett Jones, PH1000000 .265
    Tony Watson, P0000000 .000
    Jason Grilli, P0000000 .000
Francisco Liriano, P2000010 .077
   b- Alex Presley, PH-RF2111000 .294
Totals4012181126  
a-grounded out for Wilson in the 7th
b-homered for Liriano in the 6th
Batting
2B - Andrew McCutchen (18, Zito), Gaby Sanchez (10, Ramirez), Pedro Alvarez (4, Zito)
HR - Neil Walker (5, Ramirez), Alex Presley (1, Ramirez)
RBI - Andrew McCutchen 3 (33), Gaby Sanchez (21), Russell Martin 2 (20), Pedro Alvarez (38), Neil Walker 3 (19), Alex Presley (1)
2-OUT RBI - Gaby Sanchez (8), Pedro Alvarez (11), Neil Walker 2 (8)
SB - Starling Marte 2 (20, 2nd base off Zito/Posey, 2nd base off Ramirez/Posey)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Liriano-Mercer-G. Sanchez, Liriano-Mercer-G. Sanchez
PB - Russell Martin (4)
E - Jordy Mercer (3, Throwing)
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Francisco Liriano (W,5-2) 6844320 2.36
Justin Wilson 1422000 2.41
Tony Watson 1322000 4.70
Jason Grilli 1000010 0.94
Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 91-57, Justin Wilson 24-18, Tony Watson 13-10, Jason Grilli 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 11-3, Justin Wilson 3-0, Tony Watson 1-2, Jason Grilli 1-1
Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 27, Justin Wilson 7, Tony Watson 6, Jason Grilli 3
Game Information
Attendance - 19966
Game Time - 3:16
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Tim McClelland, Second Base - Mike Muchlinski, Third Base - Wally Bell