PITTSBURGH (AP) — Starling Marte, Josh Bell and Jose Osuna all hit two-run homers, Max Moroff added a three-run blast and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the San Francisco Giants 11-2 on Friday night in Andrew McCutchen’s return to PNC Park.
McCutchen, a five-time All-Star who played his first nine seasons in Pittsburgh before being traded to the Giants in January, received an extended ovation from the largest crowd to watch a Pirates home game this season when he came to bat in the second inning. The right fielder went 1 for 5 with a double and threw out Pittsburgh’s Colin Moran at home plate to end the sixth.
Steven Brault (3-1) picked up the win in relief after Pittsburgh starter Jameson Taillon left after three innings with a laceration on his right hand. Jordy Mercer went 3 for 3 and scored twice for the Pirates, who have won five of six.
San Francisco rookie Andrew Suarez (1-2) lasted just four innings in his fourth career start, giving up five runs on seven hits, including home runs to Marte in the first and Osuna in the fourth. Austin Jackson’s two-run double in the fourth briefly tied the game at 2, but Suarez struggled in the bottom of the inning as the Giants dropped their fifth straight.
Pittsburgh is off to a solid start in the competitive NL Central despite a roster makeover that included sending McCutchen — the 2013 NL MVP — west in exchange for reliever Kyle Crick, outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds and international bonus slot money.
McCutchen has watched from afar while trying to move on to the next phase of his career with the Giants. Still, he knew it would be a milestone of sorts to return to the place where he helped transform the Pirates from perennial losers to contenders who reached the playoffs three straight times from 2013-15.
“If I cry, I cry, big whoop,” the 31-year-old said before the game.
There were no tears, just a chance for 34,720 fans — many of them wearing some iteration of McCutchen’s No. 22 jersey — to voice their appreciation in person for the first time since Pirates general manager Neal Huntington made what he described as the tough but necessary decision to trade McCutchen with a year remaining on his contract.
McCutchen took off his helmet when he came to the plate in the top of the first and then stepped out to accept wave after wave of applause while a short video tribute played on the main scoreboard. A longer video tribute greeted him when he took his spot in right field before the bottom of the inning, while another video board flashed a sign that said “Thank You.”
The moment was remarkable. The game that followed was not.
Marte, McCutchen’s replacement in center, drilled a two-run shot off Suarez in the first. Osuna added a pinch-hit homer to the bleachers in left field in the fifth to put the Pirates up 5-2, and Pittsburgh poured it on from there.
The Giants went 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position and struck out 14 times. San Francisco has fanned 68 times during its five-game slide.
Giants: OF Mac Williamson (concussion) remains out indefinitely. Manager Bruce Bochy said it will be at least another week before Williamson is cleared to exit the concussion protocol program. Williamson hasn’t played since he was injured on April 24. … Bochy said OF Hunter Pence’s strained right thumb is “doing better.”
Giants: Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 6.62 ERA) will try to bounce back Saturday after getting drilled in an 11-0 loss to Philadelphia last Monday. Samardzija is 6-4 with a 2.80 ERA in his career against Pittsburgh.
Pirates: Chad Kuhl (4-2, 4.12) is 3-1 in his last four starts and tied a career high with eight strikeouts in a victory over Milwaukee last Sunday.
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