Andrew McCutchen hit a tie breaking homer, scored four times and stole two bases. He almost solved the debt ceiling crisis, too. Not a bad day. He did so in support of Jeff Karstens who whiffed nine and collected his ninth win.
Pittsburgh jumped on Jonathan Sanchez in the first inning. Andrew McCutchen walked and swiped second. With two gone, Ryan Ludwick’s soft single to center scored the first run of the game. San Francisco tied it up quickly in the bottom of the first when Pablo Sandoval hit a solo homer.
It stayed that way until the third. Jeff Karstens drew a walk from Sanchez to lead off the innings. McCutchen followed with a two run dinger to give the Pirates a lead they wouldn’t give up. Pittsburgh added another run in the inning, thanks to wildness from Sanchez and an error from Orlando Cabrera. Steve Pearce drew the walk and advanced to third on the miscue. Matt Diaz singled him in with two gone to give Pittsburgh a 4-1 lead.
Cabrera atoned for his error with a two out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth that scored Aubrey Huff. That would be all San Fran would get. Karstens would give up two hits and strand both runners in both the fifth and sixth inning before yielding to three Pirate relievers (Daniel McCutchen, Brad Lincoln and Joel Hanrahan) each of whom tossed a scoreless inning.
The Pirates went back up by three and knocked Sanchez from the game in the fifth. McCutchen walked and went to second on a wild pitch. He would score on an RBI single from Garrett Jones. That would be the last pitch Sanchez would toss.
Pittsburgh tacked on three more runs against Guillermo Mota and Jeremy Affeldt in the seventh. McCutchen was plunked. Neil Walker pinch hit and was walked. A ground ball from Jones moved both runners up and Ludwick was given a free pass to load the bases for Diaz. He singled in a run. Brandon Wood followed with a one hopper that eluded Mike Fontenot at second. As it stands now, it is apparently a two run single. But I’m not sure that won’t be overruled at some later point as Fontenot should’ve come up with the ball. At any rate, the Pirates extended the lead to 8-2. The Pirates put another run on the board in the ninth as Ludwick doubled and came in on a single from Ronny Cedeno. That damage was done against Ramon Ramirez.
Karstens went six and gave up two runs. He struck out nine and gave up eight hits. He walked none. Sanchez lasted 4-1/3 and gave up five runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out six.
Nice outing from Karstens.
McCutchen was on display.
Ludwick had three hits and scored twice. Diaz had two hits and knocked in two.
Pittsburgh drew eight walks.
Bucs whiffed eleven times.
Karstens is now 1-2 against the Giants. Sanchez falls to 2-2 against the Pirates.
This was the third time that Cutch has scored four or more runs in his career in one game. Last time was 6/19/10 against the Tribe.
Karstens had never whiffed more than six in a single game. His nine wins equal his total from the previous three years combined.
This as the fourth time in 2011 the Pirates walked eight times or more, including twice in August.
Bucs have whiffed ten or more opponents 16 times in 2011.