PITTSBURGH -- This road trip ended up being as tough as advertised.
The Giants lost 5-2 at PNC Park on Sunday night in a game that looked like a blowout early, but ended up just being a slow, painful crawl to a loss. They dropped three of four to the Pirates this week after losing two of three in St. Louis.
This one figured to be a grind for Ryan Vogelsong, who lives on the edges of the strike zone and doesn’t give in. The Pirates are patient and have a deep lineup, and they made him work hard. Eight Pirates came to the plate in the first inning, and somehow it felt like a victory when the Giants escaped trailing by just three runs.
Vogelsong loaded the bases in the third but didn’t allow a run. He put two on with one out in the fourth but Yusmeiro Petit entered and put out the fire.
The Pirates wasted opportunities to turn this into a laugher before letting the Giants back into the game with shoddy defense. A miscommunication on a pop-up, a throwing error and a dropped throw led to the first Giants run in the fifth, but they couldn’t keep the rally going. Another error put Gregor Blanco on in the sixth, and he would come around to score. But again, the Giants would waste an opportunity to score more.
The Pirates extended their lead on Andrew McCutchen’s solo homer in the bottom of the sixth and Pedro Alvarez’s shot in the seventh. The Giants put two in scoring position in the top of the seventh, but Brandon Belt flied out to deep center.
Starting pitching report: Vogelsong had given up just five hits in his two previous starts, but the Pirates were all over the bases in this one. They had seven hits and four walks off Vogelsong before he was pulled with one out in the third. Vogelsong was charged with three earned runs.
Bullpen report: Petit is starting to look like the old Petit. In three appearances on this trip, the long reliever threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings, gave up just four hits and struck out eight.
At the plate: Matt Duffy had three hits in a nationally-televised game. That should help his Rookie of the Year case, at least a bit.
In the field: Alvarez would make a good DH.
Attendance: The Pirates announced a crowd of 31,364 human beings. Many of them pulled off a doubleheader with the afternoon Steelers game. That’s a lot of Iron City Light.
Up next: A day off! And then three against the Cubs, who swept the Giants earlier this month at Wrigley. The matchups: Cain vs. Jake Arrieta; Peavy vs. Kyle Hendricks; Bumgarner vs. Dan Haren.