PITTSBURGH -- The Giants have experienced their fair share of woes on offense this season. But after many frustrating nights, their bats are beginning to heat up. The Giants recorded a season high in hits (18) and matched a season high in runs in Friday's 13-5 drubbing of the Pirates
PITTSBURGH -- The Giants have experienced their fair share of woes on offense this season. But after many frustrating nights, their bats are beginning to heat up. The Giants recorded a season high in hits (18) and matched a season high in runs in Friday's 13-5 drubbing of the Pirates at PNC Park, San Francisco's fourth straight win.
"I said I thought we'd get more consistent and start scoring more runs," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's hard to imagine that we would stay in the rut that we were in offensively."
The Giants entered Friday night coming off a sweep of the Rockies, but they were still last in the National League in OPS, slugging percentage and home runs. The Giants didn't have any problems generating offense against the Bucs, thanks to their top of the order. Denard Span, Joe Panik and Hunter Pence went 10-for-14 with seven RBIs and seven runs scored. All three contributed to San Francisco's two-out rally in the fourth that gave the Giants the lead for good. Trailing, 3-2, the Giants smacked five consecutive two-out singles to score three runs.
• Resurgent Pence tallies 5 RBIs to lead Giants
"It shows you what happens when you get timely hits," Bochy said. "You have a much better chance of winning the ballgame and we're getting a ton of them right now."
The expected pitchers' duel between right-handers Gerrit Cole and Johnny Cueto fizzled quickly. Cole, who had a 1.35 ERA in his last three starts, gave up a leadoff home run to Span and left the game with one out in the sixth, surrendering seven runs on 10 hits. Cueto coughed up seven hits in five innings, but allowed only three runs.
"It was a bad day for me," Cueto said. "But I was out there fighting."
And the Giants' lineup ensured that was enough for him to earn the win.
"I think some people lose sight that it's hard to win in the Major Leagues sometimes," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Tonight [the Giants] got the best of us."
• Cole ready to move on from rough start
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Holding the lead: Trailing, 5-3, in the fifth, the Pirates had an opportunity to rally after Andrew McCutchen's single and John Jaso's double placed runners on second and third with one out. But after a mound visit from Bochy, Cueto induced both Gregory Polanco and Chris Stewart to ground out to end the threat.
"We left some men on base," Hurdle said. "We had some shots. We weren't able to capitalize."
Bochy said he wanted to look Cueto in the eyes and make sure he could continue pitching: "He's got the ability and the savvy to make a pitch without his best stuff. Getting the ground ball from Stewart was probably the turning point for us."
Busting open the lead: The Giants, meanwhile, didn't have any problems capitalizing on their scoring opportunities. With the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, Pirates right-hander Jhan Marinez hit Pence in the elbow to push the Giants' lead to three. The rout was on from there. Buster Posey smacked a two-run double to left field. And Brandon Belt drove a double to right field to score two more.
"I'm not focused on my months. I'm just focused on my days. I'm going to continue to keep focusing day by day like I've been doing. Keep pushing for it, keep going from there." -- McCutchen, on hitting .411 with 12 extra-base hits in June
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Josh Bell reached another milestone when he smashed a double to left field for his 30th extra-base hit of the season. His 30 extra-base hits are the most by a Pirates rookie before the All-Star break since the All-Star Game began in 1933.
Giants: San Francisco has won only once in the last seven games started by Matt Moore, who will take the ball in Saturday's 1:05 p.m. PT rematch at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. The Giants are 4-12 overall when Moore starts, including 2-7 on the road. His 8.39 road ERA is the highest among qualifying pitchers in the Major Leagues.
Pirates:Chad Kuhl will start as the Pirates continue their three-game series against the Giants on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET at PNC Park. Kuhl pitched into the sixth inning Sunday for the first time since April 18, but he wasn't able to record an out. He was charged with four runs on eight hits while striking out six Cardinals. He has a 7.36 ERA in eight home starts this season.
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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.
Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.