Right-hander Kevin Gausman will look to improve upon his impressive record following San Francisco Giants losses when he faces the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.
The Pirates took advantage of erratic pitching and sloppy defense to post a 6-4 victory on Friday in the opener of the three-game series.
Pittsburgh scored three times in the seventh inning to snap a tie without recording a hit, getting one run on a bases-loaded walk and the two more on an error by San Francisco first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Pirates. The Giants had won their previous two before falling in the opener of a nine-game homestand.
“What’s frustrating was we didn’t play our best game from any angle,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said. “I don’t think we played our best brand at the plate; we were uncharacteristically out of the strike zone (when pitching); and I don’t think we defended our position like we’re capable of.
“It’s hard to win a ballgame when you’re not at your best in those three segments of the game.”
Gausman (9-3, 1.84 ERA) will be making his seventh start of the season following a Giants loss. He’s led the team to wins in five of the previous six games, including a 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers last Monday after the Giants dropped a 2-1 decision to the St. Louis Cardinals on the previous day.
The Pirates are slated to counter with rookie right-hander Wil Crowe (1-5, 6.12).
Gausman pitched brilliantly in an earlier road matchup against the Pirates, taking a shutout into the ninth inning.
With his team nursing a 1-0 lead, Gausman was pulled following inning-opening singles by Adam Frazier and Kevin Newman. The Pirates went on to tie the game, then won it with a two-run 11th inning.
That was the only time Gausman has been allowed to pitch in a ninth inning this season.
Gausman hasn’t had much luck against the Pirates in his career, going 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts). The only win came in 2018 for the Atlanta Braves.
Steven Duggar produced the Giants’ first run Friday with his seventh homer of the season. He also went deep when the Giants faced Crowe on May 13 in Pittsburgh. San Francisco won that game 3-1.
Crowe was charged with all three Giants runs on six hits in five innings. It was his only career meeting with San Francisco.
The 26-year-old has made 16 career major-league starts, but never one west of Missouri. He is winless in three starts in July, having allowed eight runs and 16 hits in 14 2/3 innings.
The Pirates got an unexpected boost in their series-opening win from the Giants’ recent first-round draft pick. That happens to be Will Bednar, younger brother of Pittsburgh reliever David Bednar.
Sticking around to watch the game after signing his first professional contract earlier in the day, Will Bednar admitted he would be rooting for his brother if he were summoned from the bullpen.
The older brother pitched a scoreless eighth inning, earning his ninth hold in the 6-4 win.
“You really can’t script it much better than this,” David Bednar said.
–Field Level Media