PITTSBURGH -- The Giants struggled generating offense for most of the day, but right-hander Jeff Samardzija kept them within striking distance. They finally rewarded their starting pitcher by erasing a two-run deficit in the seventh en route to a 5-3 win over the Pirates on Sunday at PNC Park, completing
PITTSBURGH -- The Giants struggled generating offense for most of the day, but right-hander Jeff Samardzija kept them within striking distance. They finally rewarded their starting pitcher by erasing a two-run deficit in the seventh en route to a 5-3 win over the Pirates on Sunday at PNC Park, completing San Francisco's second straight three-game series sweep.
"It's nice to be on this run, but nobody's satisfied or content with it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
The Giants mustered just three hits off Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams, who had allowed two baserunners through six innings. But Samardzija also pitched well, with his only mistake coming in the fourth when he left a splitter slightly elevated that Jordy Mercer sent over the left-field wall for a two-run homer. Those were the only runs Samardzija permitted in six innings, earning him his third consecutive quality start.
Williams also notched his third straight quality outing, but he slowed down in the seventh. With the Pirates leading 2-0, he walked Hunter Pence and gave up a double to Buster Posey to end his day.
The Giants smacked three straight singles off left-handed reliever Tony Watson to score, with RBIs from Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford. Kelby Tomlinson plated the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.
"That's what happens when you don't execute, especially at this level with those type of hitters over there," Watson said. "It's paramount that you hit your spots in those situations."
Belt clobbered a two-run homer in the eighth to extend the lead, placing the finishing touches on the Giants' season-high sixth straight victory.
"They've got a good lineup," Watson said. "They were playing really good baseball coming in here, and I know their record doesn't show it … but that's a good team over there with a lot of veteran guys."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Quite the grab: The Pirates were inches away from scoring in the third. After Jose Osuna smashed a two-out triple, John Jaso drove a 0-1 fastball to right field. But Pence arrived just in time to make the diving grab. It was a three-star catch, according to Statcat, with Pence needing to cover 54 feet in 3.8 seconds.
"Hunter is one of those guys you don't ever really get upset with because you know he's giving it his all, he's prepared and he's trying to make the play," Samardzija said.
Insurance homer: Belt gave his bullpen a couple of insurance runs in the eighth with a swing of the bat. With two outs, Belt smashed a 3-1 slider over the Clemente Wall in right field. The home run had an exit velocity of 100.3 mph, a launch angle of 34 degrees and traveled a projected 403 feet according to Statcast™.
"It's just playing a complete game … that's the challenge up here. They don't give you wins. Doesn't matter what things are done or written on paper, you've got to go out and beat the other team. And that team as you see, they've got some very competitive guys and some veteran guys. We weren't able to finish the last two games. We were in a position to win them." -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, on the Pirates getting swept by the Giants
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Jaso muscled a solo shot off left-hander Steven Okert to right field in the eighth. The homer had an exit velocity of 101.3 mph, a launch angle of 31 degrees and traveled a projected 404 feet, according to Statcast™. It marked his first home run against a southpaw since his first career Major League long ball on April 24, 2010, off Ricky Romero.
At first glance, it appeared that Samardzija had reached first safely after third baseman Max Moroff's throwing error in the sixth. The Pirates challenged the call and a replay showed that first baseman Josh Bell managed to tag Samardzija before he reached the base.
The Giants won their replay review in the seventh. Jae-Gyun Hwang was called out at first, but a replay showed he had beaten the throw, and the call was overturned. The review played a role in the Giants' three-run inning.
Giants: Following Monday's scheduled off-day, the Giants will convene at Detroit's Comerica Park to open a three-game Interleague series at 10:10 a.m. PT on Tuesday against the Tigers. Player Page for Matt Cain, who has not recorded a victory against an American League opponent since July 9, 2014, vs. Oakland, will start this Fourth of July special.
Pirates:Ivan Nova will start on Monday as the Pirates start a four-game series against the Phillies at 7:05 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park. On Wednesday, Nova was unable to complete six innings for the first time in 16 starts this season, settling for five frames of two-run ball with only one strikeout.
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Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Pirates on Sunday.
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.