PITTSBURGH (CBS/AP) — Ryan Vogelsong won while making his first start in almost seven years, pitching effectively into the sixth inning against his former team and leading the San Francisco Giants over the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Thursday.
Making just his third appearance in the majors since 2006, Vogelsong (1-0) tied a career high with eight strikeouts. He gave up two runs on four hits and two walks.
The 33-year-old was making his first start since Sept. 29, 2004, while he was with the Pirates against the Philadelphia Phillies. He won for the first time since Sept. 14, 2005.
Brian Wilson pitched the ninth for his seventh save. San Francisco had lost five of its previous six.
Aaron Rowand had three RBIs and stole home as part of a double steal. He hit a two-run double during the Giants’ four-run third.
Neil Walker had three hits for the Pirates, who have lost three of their four home series this season.
Vogelsong was making his 34th career start and 123rd appearance in the majors. He spent three seasons in Japan after last appearing in a game for the Pirates in June 2006.
Vogelsong signed a minor league deal with the Giants in the offseason and had his contract purchased from Triple-A Fresno April 17 when Barry Zito went on the disabled list. Vogelsong had made two relief appearances since, covering 4 2-3 scoreless innings.
After a two-out double by Walker in the first that drove in Lyle Overbay, Vogelsong went through a run of retiring 14 of 16 batters before sixth, during which he was lifted after allowing an RBI groundout by Ryan Doumit.
San Francisco gave Vogelsong all the runs he would need while not getting many hard-hit balls during the third off Jeff Karstens (2-1).
Mike Fontenot singled to lead off the inning and Eli Whiteside followed by getting hit by a pitch. Vogelsong reached when Karstens unsuccessfully tried to get the lead runner on a bunt, loading the bases.
That set up Rowand’s double just inside the third base bag. With one out and after an intentional walk, Pablo Sandoval grounded to short, but Pittsburgh was unable to turn a double play, so Vogelsong scored.
Rowand made it 4-1 when he came across as part of a double steal with Sandoval. Doumit’s throw went into center field on the play— the catcher’s poor throw was one of four Pirates errors.
The Giants’ fifth run came in the seventh, an inning in which Pittsburgh committed two errors.
Only two of the five runs charged against Karstens in his 6 2-3 innings were earned.
NOTES: Paid attendance for the three-game series against the reigning World Series champions was 33,357 — although the turnstile count was significantly lower than that. The Pirates haven’t drawn as many as 19,000 to a game since the first three games of the season. … Originally drafted by the Giants, Vogelsong was the primary piece of a trade to get ace Jason Schmidt from Pittsburgh in 2001. … The Pirates are 2-11 when they score three runs or less. … OF Xavier Paul made his Pittsburgh debut hours after being activated, striking out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. Paul was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this week.
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