PITTSBURGH — The Giants needed to sit through a 93-minute rain delay before first pitch on Saturday at PNC Park.
They’ll need to wait until at least Sunday to snap their losing streak.
The Giants’ skid hit six games after the club’s most reliable reliever, Tony Watson, allowed the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of a 6-5 loss. After Watson surrendered his first home run of the season in Friday’s blowout loss, he hit Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to bring in a run.
“Hitting a guy to get the game-winning run in, that’s unacceptable,” Watson said. “Especially after the inning the guys put up to fight back. After Jackson’s big hit, frustrating for sure.”
Pittsburgh’s ability to cash in against Watson crushed a Giants squad that scored a run in the seventh and one more in the eighth to tie the game 5-5.
Down 5-4 entering the eighth inning, center fielder Austin Jackson launched an RBI double off the top of the left-field wall against former Giant George Kontos to even the score, but Jackson barely missed a home run that would have pushed the club ahead.
“That thing just missed going out,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That might have been the difference in the game, to be honest. He hit it well and it’s a shame.”
With Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto on the disabled list, Jeff Samardzija is the most established active member of a staff that desperately needed him to reverse an ugly trend plaguing the Giants.
After their starters combined for just 22 innings the last time through the rotation, Samardzija was one strike away from logging a quality start and navigating through the heart of the Pirates’ order in a critical situation.
Then he left a fastball up in the zone and Francisco Cervelli crushed it.
The Pirates catcher broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run blast to right-center field in the sixth inning, ruining Samardzija’s night and forcing the Giants to play from behind the rest of the night.
“Us as a staff, us five guys have to find a way to improve and really get that momentum going and give that rhythm to the game to where the offense is feeling like they’re in the dugout a lot,” Samardzija said.
After recording 12 outs in his last start, Samardzija found himself in immediate trouble in the first inning of Saturday’s contest.
The right-hander allowed a Josh Bell sacrifice fly and two-out RBI single from Corey Dickerson as the Pirates jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Falling behind early has crushed the Giants on their road trip, as the club has given up at least one first-inning run in seven of their nine games.
Despite the ominous start, the Giants forced their way back into the game in the top of the second when third baseman Evan Longoria slammed the first pitch of the inning over the left-field wall. Longoria’s team-leading eighth home run of the year halved the deficit, and former Pirate Alen Hanson evened the game at 2-2 with a one-out solo shot into the right-field bleachers.
A former top prospect in the Pirates’ organization, Hanson never hit a home run in 64 games with Pittsburgh.