SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer, Jeff Karstens bounced back from his worst start of the season and the Pittsburgh Pirates won their first series in three weeks with a 9-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
The Pirates took two of three from the reigning World Series champions on the heels of a 10-game losing streak. Pittsburgh is off Thursday before opening a weekend series at NL Central-leading Milwaukee. The Brewers have won all five previous meetings.
Garrett Jones added an RBI single to continue his torrid August and help back Karstens (9-6), whose career-high nine strikeouts matched a season-high for the team. Karstens, who ended a four-start winless stretch, gave up a season-high nine runs and nine hits in a 15-5 loss at San Diego last Friday.
McCutchen went 1 for 1 with three walks. He stole two bases and scored four runs.
Pablo Sandoval homered for the Giants, who began the day with a half-game lead over Arizona in the NL West. The Diamondbacks host Houston in a night game. San Francisco has led the division since June 25.
Jonathan Sanchez (4-7) walked McCutchen on four pitches and threw five straight balls to start the game. Sandoval came in from third and catcher Eli Whiteside hustled to the mound to chat with the left-hander, who was roughed up again in his second start since coming off the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Sanchez was done after 4 1-3 innings and hasn’t won since June 2 at St. Louis.
McCutchen stole second and came around to score on Ryan Ludwick’s RBI single.
McCutchen’s 16th clout of the year put Pittsburgh ahead 3-1 in the third. The Pirates have homered in four of their last five games and eight of 12.
McCutchen scored four runs—most by a Pirate in a game this year—also drawing three walks and getting hit by a pitch leading off the seventh. Brandon Wood added a two-run single in the seventh and Matt Diaz hit two run-scoring singles. Pittsburgh’s Nos. 1-5 hitters went a combined 7 for 17 with six RBIs, eight runs scored, seven walks and a hit batter. Jones is batting .389 (14 for 36) with five doubles, three homers and seven RBIs this month.
With a power show on offense of late, Bucs pitchers also have allowed 18 homers over the last nine games. Sandoval connected in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1.
The Giants have hit 19 straight solo home runs, matching the 1914 Phillies’ major league mark. Their last homer to score more than one run was a two-run drive by Nate Schierholtz on July 6 against San Diego.
Still, San Francisco finished up a disappointing 3-7 homestand with its 10th loss in 13 games. The Giants have dropped three straight series at AT&T Park for the first time since losing six consecutive home series from May 12-June 18, 2008.
Pirates first baseman Derrek Lee was a late scratch from the lineup with a recurring left hand injury. Manager Clint Hurdle said Lee’s hand was very sore after he played the two previous nights following a four-game absence with the bruised hand. Lee was hit with a pitch from Chicago’s Carlos Marmol last Wednesday.
Lee is batting .278 with two home runs and three RBIs in four games since joining the Pirates in a trade from Baltimore.
NOTES: Giants RF Carlos Beltran missed his third straight game nursing a strained right hand and wrist. Schierholtz was held out with a right hip flexor. … Giants LHP Barry Zito will make another rehab outing Saturday for Triple-A Fresno then fly out to join the Giants on the road. … San Francisco INF Miguel Tejada (lower abdominal strain) isn’t quite ready to begin a rehab outing in the minors, manager Bruce Bochy said. Tejada will travel on the road trip. … Pirates RHP Kevin Hart had arthroscopic cleanup surgery Tuesday performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. The team hopes to have Hart ready by spring training. … Pirates LHP Paul Maholm (6-12, 3.54 ERA) starts Friday trying to end a string of three straight losing decisions. He is 1-5 on the road and is coming off a 13-2 loss Saturday at San Diego. … All-Star RHP Matt Cain goes for the Giants on Friday at Florida, trying to improve to 4-1 for his career vs. the Marlins. He lost to Florida on May 24.
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