PITTSBURGH (AP)—Throw strikes, keep the ball down, let the defense work for you. Tom Gorzelanny followed the formula that’s been preached to major league pitchers for decades and got his first career victory because of it.
The rookie left-hander limited slumping San Francisco to two runs over seven innings and drove in a run himself to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Giants 4-3 Saturday night.
“It felt good to finally get it out of the way,” Gorzelanny said of winning in his sixth career start, one last season. “I hope there are many more to come.”
Jeromy Burnitz homered and two Ronny Paulino singles led to runs as the Pirates matched their season high by winning their fourth in a row. They own the NL’s worst record—39-66—but are 9-6 since the All-Star break.
Barry Bonds, booed as usual during every at-bat in the city where he twice won the NL MVP award, drove in a run with a bloop double in the first but the Giants lost their fifth in a row. The losing streak is their longest this season, and they are winless on a six-game road trip to Washington and Pittsburgh that winds up Sunday.
Gorzelanny (1-2) hadn’t lasted longer than six innings in the majors before giving up two runs and six hits over seven, effectively keeping the ball down while striking out five and walking one.
“He had the ability to get big league hitters out if he throws strikes early in the count,” manager Jim Tracy said. “He was really, really good.”
Gorzelanny got 16 of 21 outs on grounders or strikeouts, with no Giants batter retired on a popup or flyball until Pedro Feliz popped up to end the fourth. That ability to keep the ball on the ground helped Gorzelanny get out of several jams, and he was supported by a defense that featured a series of excellent plays from second baseman Jose Castillo, shortstop Jack Wilson and third baseman Freddy Sanchez.
“We were able to make some nice plays, but give him the credit,” Wilson said of Gorzelanny. “He got the groundballs.”
After Bonds’ double fell in front of center fielder Jose Bautista in the first, Gorzelanny got Moises Alou to ground out and prevent any further scoring. The run was the first allowed by the 24-year-old Gorzelanny in the first inning in the majors.
The Giants also threatened by putting runners on first and second in the fourth, but the runners were stranded when Feliz was retired.
“This is what I was doing all year,” said Gorzelanny, who was 6-5 with a 2.35 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A Indianapolis before being recalled. “Getting the ball down and throwing strikes. I was getting ahead with my fastball and everything was working for me.”
Gorzelanny’s groundout scored the Pirates’ first run of the game in the second, following leadoff singles by Burnitz and Paulino. Pittsburgh took a 3-1 lead in the third against Jamey Wright (6-9) on Paulino’s RBI single and Jose Castillo’s run-scoring double that hopped the center-field wall and landed in the Giants’ bullpen.
Wright is 4-11 in his career against the Pirates and has lost his last five decisions against them, going winless in seven starts since last beating them on July 1, 2002.
“It’s frustrating. I had great stuff tonight, the best sinker I’ve had all year,” said Wright, who allowed the leadoff batter to reach in four of six innings. “I gave up a hit or a walk to the leadoff hitter every inning, and I put myself in a jam, and it seemed like every inning I was out there battling.”
Wright has lost six of his last seven decisions, winning once in 11 starts since May 22.
“We’re going to talk about a few things before we get home Monday,” manager Felipe Alou said of his rotation.
Bonds went 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts, dropping his average to .244.
“I don’t see the recognition of pitches from him, the way he is accustomed to,” Alou said. “You see Barry taking strikes without being ready to swing the bat, and swinging on some bad pitches. You’re not used to seeing that.”
The Giants’ Omar Vizquel had a run-scoring single in the fifth. … The Pirates are 5-1 against the Giants this season. … Pirates 1B Sean Casey was scratched with a strained muscle, so Joe Randa started at 1B for the first time since 2004. … Bonds fouled a ball off his left foot in the sixth inning, but stayed in the game until the eighth. Bonds left Wednesday’s game against the Nationals with a mildly strained left hamstring and didn’t start Thursday, but has started both weekend games against the Pirates. He is not expected to start Sunday.