Pirates 8, Giants 1
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—The Pirates might want to consider staying in a hotel when they get back to Pittsburgh. Because so far this season, they’ve been a much tougher road team.
Rob Mackowiak homered twice and drove in four runs to help the Pirates complete a rare three-game sweep in San Francisco with an 8-1 victory over the Giants on Sunday.
“We didn’t play that great at home but we came out here and did a great job,” Mackowiak said. “The last week we really hit the ball hard and this time it paid off.”
The Pirates hadn’t swept a series in San Francisco since winning a five-gamer in September 1996. They had won just three times in the first four seasons of this ballpark before taking three in a row this weekend with Barry Bonds out with a bad back.
Pittsburgh completed a 5-1 road trip to Colorado and San Francisco to improve to 13-8 away from home. The Pirates play 14 of their next 17 games at PNC Park where they are just 4-10 this season.
“We have not played well at home for whatever reason,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “But if there’s ever a time to go home and be competitive this is it.”
Mackowiak supplied the offense with a solo homer in the second, an RBI single in the fourth and a two-run shot in the sixth off Jerome Williams (3-3). It was Mackowiak’s third career multihomer game.
Kip Wells (3-4) took advantage of a lineup missing Bonds and leadoff hitter Ray Durham (sore hamstring), holding the punchless Giants to one run and seven hits in five innings for his first win in a month.
“When you get two quick ones in a series like this you feel good,” Wells said. “But when you’re able to get a third one and play a good game with key hits and make pitches that’s big for us.”
The Giants were swept at home for the second time this season—surpassing last year’s total when they went wire-to-wire to win the NL West. They’ve lost four straight and nine of 12.
“I don’t think there’s anything to say that describes it. It’s frustrating,” outfielder Dustan Mohr said. “We’re going to start playing better. We’re going to win games. … This has got to stop beginning Tuesday.”
Once again they were done in by the double play, hitting into two more to increase their major league-leading total to 48.
When San Francisco tried to stay out of the double play, that backfired, too. The Giants ran themselves out of a potential big inning in the fifth. With runners on first and third and one out, Marquis Grissom swung and missed on a hit-and-run. J.T. Snow got caught in a rundown between first and second before the Pirates caught Williams straying too far off third for the second out.
“Grissom usually doesn’t swing and miss,” manager Felipe Alou said. “He usually puts the ball in play.”
Mackowiak’s seventh homer the next inning made it 5-1.
“I’ve been terrible driving in runs this year,” Mackowiak said. “It was nice to come out and do something positive.”
Williams, who left his previous appearance in the fourth inning with a minor biceps strain in his right arm, got off to a strong start by retiring nine of the first 10 batters, six by strikeouts.
The only batter to reach in that span was Mackowiak, who hit a first-pitch homer to center with one out in the second.
The Pirates put runners on first and third with one out in the fourth before Mackowiak and Jason Bay hit consecutive RBI singles to make it 3-0.
“I just didn’t do the things I was supposed to do,” Williams said. “I left a couple of pitches up and they got hits.”
Grissom homered in the bottom half for the Giants’ only run off Wells.
Wells was 0-3 with a 7.08 ERA in four starts since beating the Mets on April 16. … With Josh Fogg’s victory Saturday, the Pirates got wins from their starters in consecutive games for just the second time this season. Oliver Perez and Kris Benson did it April 11-12. … Williams allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. … Bonds is expected to be back in the lineupTuesday in Chicago.