The San Francisco Giants have come out of the All-Star break strong and at the expense of the Pittsburgh Pirates
The Giants, chasing the National League West top spot, will go for a three-game series sweep Sunday after 6-4 and 3-1 wins in Pittsburgh
Their win Saturday came after right fielder Michael Conforto’s two-run single in the eighth inning broke a 1-1 tie and was the Giants‘ fourth straight victor
Conforto said the breather during the break did him and the rest of his team good.
“Getting away from the game a little bit is definitely huge,” he told NBC Sports Bay Area.
Pittsburgh appears likely to get veteran designated hitter Andrew McCutchen back Sunday, when he is eligible to come off the injured after dealing with elbow inflammation that has bothered him for some time but was aggravated before the All-Star break.
“We were fortunate that we had the four days (of the break),” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “I think we want to make sure we try to get (the inflammation) out as much as possible. That’s the most important thing. Hopefully, we can get him off on Sunday and get him back out there.
McCutchen, who returned to his original club this season, has been a big part of the Pirates‘ psyche. He also has been one of their best players, leading the team with a .268 average and standing second with 10 homers
He needs three homers to reach 300 for his career. Earlier this season he collected his 2,000th hit and his 400th double.
Although it turned out he would have had to miss the All-Star Game, McCutchen thought he earned a spot there.
“Yeah, I was disappointed,” he said. “At the time for them, when the votes and stuff were in that last day, I felt like I was in a pretty good spot.”
San Francisco did not name a starter for the series finale until after Saturday’s game — left-hander Alex Wood (4-3, 4.68 ERA) — while Pittsburgh is scheduled to go with right-hander Osvaldo Bido (1-1, 4.44).
“He’s earned it,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said of Wood, who has come out of the bullpen in four of his 13 appearances despite making it known he would rather start full time
Against Colorado July 8, Wood pitched five scoreless, three-hit innings of long relief to pick up a win.
Wood is 6-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 15 career games against the Pirates, 14 of them starts
Bido, who has never faced San Francisco, is coming off his first career win. That was July 9 when he pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings over the fourth and fifth innings in relief at Arizona as the Pirates went with a bullpen game on the eve of the All-Star break
The rookie had made five starts before that lone relief appearance since being recalled and worked Sunday on three days’ rest.
“That’s really cool to see,” Shelton said. “He came in and did a really good job after throwing 80 pitches (his previous outing).”
The Pirates are rewarding him with a return to the rotation
–Field Level Media