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Blach bested as Giants shut out by Pirates

Left-hander lasts just four innings; Kelly pitches remainder of game
MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ty Blach struck out three of the first four Pirates batters and faced the minimum through two innings. Saturday night's game was shaping up to be a reason for the Giants to continue celebrating after Barry Bonds' number retirement ceremony was conducted prior to first pitch at AT&T Park.

Then, a leadoff walk, and suddenly it was the team Bonds began his career with in the visitors' dugout celebrating, en route to topping San Francisco, 4-0.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Ty Blach struck out three of the first four Pirates batters and faced the minimum through two innings. Saturday night's game was shaping up to be a reason for the Giants to continue celebrating after Barry Bonds' number retirement ceremony was conducted prior to first pitch at AT&T Park.

Then, a leadoff walk, and suddenly it was the team Bonds began his career with in the visitors' dugout celebrating, en route to topping San Francisco, 4-0.

View Full Game Coverage

Blach issued a free pass to Josh Harrison to begin the third inning; Harrison would come around score the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly. The Pirates didn't hit the left-hander particularly hard in the first three frames, but Josh Bell followed a pair of fourth-inning infield singles with his eighth home run of the season to put Pittsburgh up, 4-0. It was enough to chase Blach after four innings, five strikeouts and 67 pitches.

Video: PIT@SF: Bell belts a 3-run home run to left

"I felt like I had really good stuff," Blach said. "The one pitch, just enough over the plate where [Bell] could leverage it. I didn't think it was that bad, but he was able to make a pretty good swing on it. A little bad luck and one pitch basically."

Buster Posey echoed the starter's sentiments.

"I think Ty was pretty unlucky tonight," Posey said. "Really, the only hard hit ball he gave up was the homer and unfortunately, that's just the way it goes sometimes."

One day removed from a 13-run outburst, the Giants offense could not solve Trevor Williams. The right-hander mystified in seven scoreless innings and didn't allow a runner beyond second base, though Posey and Evan Longoria each collected two of their team's six hits.

Williams was succeeded by a pair of dominant relievers, Keone Kela and Felipe Vazquez. They made quick work of the Giants, throwing a total of 20 pitches across the final two innings.

"We had some singles but we just couldn't generate the offense," manager Bruce Bochy said. "You could feel the crowd, the energy, we just couldn't get it going offensively."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Giants used four relievers in each of the first two installments of this four-game series. Right-hander Casey Kelly was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Friday, and pitched five indispensable scoreless innings of relief in his first appearance of the season.

Video: PIT@SF: Kelly fans Harrison for his 3rd strikeout

In fact, Kelly pitched well enough to earn consideration for the fifth spot in the Giants' rotation. Bochy acknowledged it will be discussed.

Said Bochy: "You'd think he was a veteran with how he carried himself. That's the positive in this game, how well he threw. He saved the bullpen with five solid innings."

"I thought he was really good," Posey added. "He mixed four pitches and commanded the fastball really well. He's got a good curveball, changeup with some movement and mixed in the slider. It was impressive."

SOUND SMART
According to Statcast™, Corey Dickerson's sacrifice fly (100.1 mph) was the only ball hit harder than 100 mph off Blach. The two infield singles that preceded Bell's home run (99.1 mph) had hit probabilities of 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

Video: PIT@SF: Dickerson drives in Harrison with a sac fly

HE SAID IT
"I'm lucky I don't have to make that decision. Obviously, Barry's numbers are the greatest of all time. I appreciated watching him as a kid and marveled at the things he did on the field. I think it's one of those talents that only comes along every so often." -- Posey, when asked if he thinks Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame

UP NEXT
The Giants will turn to Dereck Rodriguez (5-1, 2.34 ERA) as they look to salvage a series split on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. PT at AT&T Park. The emerging Rookie of the Year candidate has made four consecutive quality starts, and is coming off a tough no-decision against Houston in which he allowed just three hits across seven scoreless innings. The Pirates will counter with fellow right-hander Joe Musgrove (4-6, 3.41 ERA).

Martin Oppegaard is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @MartinOppegaard.

San Francisco Giants