The San Francisco Giants are taking wins any way they can get them. As a result, they are off to their best start after 20 games since 1945.
They’ll look to improve on that mark when they meet the Pittsburgh Pirates in the finale of a three-game set at PNC Park.
The Giants broke their first losing streak of the season on Wednesday, but they needed 13 innings to do it.
After dropping two straight, San Francisco beat Pittsburgh 4-3 when Pirates second baseman Pokey Reese allowed a run to score on an error in the top of the 13th. With two outs in the inning, Pedro Feliz grounded to Pirates third baseman Aramis Ramirez, but Ramirez’s throw glanced off Reese’s glove and into right field as J.T. Snow scored.
“We gave ourselves a chance to tie the game up, and that’s all you can ask for,” Cruz said.
The Giants will now try to avoid losing their first series of the year, and they’ll need to get past Pirates starter Kris Benson to do that.
Benson has been impressive this season, but he’ll be looking to redeem himself after his worst start of the season last Friday.
After allowing no more than two earned runs in each of his first three starts, Benson gave up four through seven innings of a 7-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. All four, however, came before he retired a batter in the first inning.
His ERA rose from 0.89 to 1.98 after that start.
STANDINGS: Giants - 1st place, NL West. Pirates - 2nd place (tied), 2 1/2 GB, NL Central.
GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Damian Moss (3-0, 3.04 ERA). Moss is moving up a day in the rotation to make this start, because Jason Schmidt has left the team following the death of his mother. In three of his four starts this season, Moss has not allowed more than two earned runs. On Saturday, he gave up two runs and seven hits in seven innings of a 9-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Moss won his only previous career start against the Pirates, giving up four hits in seven shutout innings.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Benson (2-2, 1.98 ERA). In six career games against the Giants, Benson is 1-4 with a 4.72 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Giants - Snow, .373 avg. and 21 RBIs; Barry Bonds and Cruz, 6 HRs; Cruz, 20 runs; Ray Durham, 4 SBs. Pirates - Jason Kendall, .338 avg; Reggie Sanders, 5 HRs, 12 RBIs and 14 runs; Kenny Lofton, 4 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Giants - SS Rich Aurilia is just 1-for-15 (.067 in his career against Benson. … The Giants haven’t been shut out since a 1-0 loss to the Braves last Aug. 14. … To replace Schmidt on the roster while he is away, RHP Luis Estrella’s contract was purchased from Triple-A Fresno. He was 0-1 with five saves and a 3.86 ERA at Fresno. Teams are allowed to replaced players on a bereavement leave for 3-to-7 days. Pirates - 1B Kevin Young singled in the third inning on Wednesday for his 1,000th career hit. … OF Brian Giles hasn’t played since April 10 because of a sprained right knee. He still hasn’t begun taking batting practice or shagging fly balls, and manager Lloyd McClendon is not sure when he will return. … RHP Benson is batting .250 (2-for-8) this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Giants - 9-2 on the road; Pirates - 4-7 at home.
INJURIES: Giants - LHP Jason Christiansen (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Ryan Jensen (back), 15-day DL; RHP Robb Nen (shoulder), 15-day DL. Pirates - OF Giles (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Josh Fogg (abdominal), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Lincoln (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL; IF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL.