That’s probably just fine with Pittsburgh starter Ian Snell.
Snell (6-3, 5.26 ERA) seeks his fifth straight win when the teams continue their four-game set on Saturday at AT&T Park.
The 24-year-old right-hander has a 3.91 ERA during his winning streak. The run began following his worst outing of the season, when he gave up seven runs in 1 1-3 innings of an 8-2 loss to Florida on May 14.
Snell has 23 strikeouts in 23 innings since, including a career-high 10 at Colorado in a 5-2 victory on Monday, and earned high marks from manager Jim Tracy.
“I know he’s pitched some good games, but up to this point in the season, I don’t know if he’s pitched a better one that this one,” Tracy said.
Bonds originally was expected to return to San Francisco’s lineup Saturday, but an in-game evaluation of the injury Friday put his status in doubt.
“Barry was not available and is questionable for (Saturday),” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “During the game the trainer told me that he still has the strain and they are afraid he’d aggravate that and then he would be lost for many days.”
Bonds suffered the injury last weekend against the New York Mets and has missed the last three games. He took batting practice and played long toss before Friday’s game and told a group of reporters that he could have started but decided to wait due to cold weather.
Pittsburgh improved to 6-25 on the road and 6-2 in its last eight games in San Francisco. The Pirates have yet to win a series away from PNC Park this season.
Casey is 8-for-9 in the series, raising his average from .265 to .338. He’s a career .472 (42-for-89) hitter at AT&T Park, the only batter all-time with a .400 average or better there in 75 or more at-bats.
“This game goes in waves,” said Casey, who went 4-for-5 in the Pirates’ 5-4 loss in the opener Thursday. “I’m getting good pitches to hit and I’m not missing them. This is one of my favorite parks to come to. I love the background.”
Bay has hit safely in eight straight games and 17 of his last 18 overall. He is hitting .400 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs over that span.
Despite the loss, the Giants (32-29) have won six of their last nine games and are slated to start left-hander Noah Lowry (2-3, 3.76) on Saturday.
Lowry snapped a personal three-game losing skid on Monday, when he allowed one run and five hits in five innings of a 14-2 win over Florida.
He is 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA in two starts against the Pirates in his career.
Niekro appeared in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter and grounded out to shortstop.