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Pirates 12, Giants 8

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- Just when it appeared major league pitchers had adjusted to Starling Marte, the Pittsburgh Pirates' leadoff hitter adjusted back in a big way Wednesday night.

Marte went 4-for-5, scored four runs and stole two bases to key the Pirates' 12-8 victory over the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park.

It seemed pitchers had found a way to consistently retire the left fielder, who is in his first full major league season. He was 11-for-60 (.183) in his last 16 games coming into Wednesday, a slump that dropped his batting average to .290. However, Marte responded with his first career hit four-hit game as the Pirates beat up on Barry Zito and the Giants' bullpen.

Jordy Mercer, Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez had three hits each as the top four hitters in Pirates' lineup went 13-for-19 with eight runs. McCutchen drove in three runs for Pittsburgh, which had 18 hits and posted a season-high run total.

Neil Walker added two hits, including a home run, and three RBIs, while Russell Martin drove in two runs and Alex Presley hit a pinch-hit homer.

Francisco Liriano (5-2) got through six shaky innings for the win, allowing four runs on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts. It was just second time in seven starts Liriano allowed more than one run. He averaged 11.75 strikeouts per nine innings coming into Wednesday.

Zito (4-5) saw his road woes continue as he was rocked for eight runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings. He is 0-4 with an 11.28 ERA in five away starts this season.

Tony Abreu, filling in for the injured Marco Scutaro at second base, had three of the Giants' 15 hits and scored three runs. Joaquin Arias had two hits and three RBIs, Buster Posey had two hits and two RBIs, Hunter Pence hit two doubles, and Brandon Belt and Juan Perez added two hits apiece.

Presley led off the sixth inning with his first home run of the season, a drive into the right field stands off Ramon Ramirez, and Sanchez hit an RBI double to push Pittsburgh's lead to 10-4.

San Francisco closed the gap to 10-6 in the seventh as one run scored on a throwing error by Mercer, the shortstop, and Arias followed with an RBI single.

Walker hit his home run to lead off the bottom of the seventh. The drive was originally ruled a double off the top of the right field wall, but the call was overturned upon video review.

The Giants got within 11-8 on Posey's two-run double in top of the eighth, but Martin drove in an insurance run in the bottom half for Pittsburgh with a ground out.

Walker's two-run single capped a four-run fifth inning that enabled the Pirates to move in front 8-4.

Marte and Mercer singled, and after McCutchen struck out, Sanchez walked to load the bases. Martin hit into a fielder's choice to score Marte with the go-ahead run and an RBI double by Pedro Alvarez chased Zito.

Walker then greeted reliever Jose Mijares with his single.

Arias' two-run single in the top of the fifth inning off Liriano had drawn the Giants into a 4-4 tie.

McCutchen's two-run double keyed a three-run third inning as the Pirates took a 4-1 lead. McCutchen scored on a double-play grounder by Martin.

The Giants cut their deficit to 4-2 in the fourth as Pence led off with a double and scored on Perez's sacrifice fly.

Both teams scored in the first inning. Pence doubled in a run for the Giants and McCutchen answered with an RBI single.

NOTES: Scutaro was out of the lineup with what was described as a tendon issue in his left hand and is day-to-day. He has decided to forgo surgery that would sideline him from six-to-eight weeks. Scutaro was injured Tuesday night when hit by a pitch on the left pinkie and was told by a hand specialist Wednesday he could do no further damage to the tendon by playing. ... Giants RHP George Kontos was optioned to Triple-A Fresno before the game then learned he had been suspended for three days by Major League Baseball after being ejected Tuesday night for hitting Pittsburgh McCutchen with a pitch. Kontos will not serve the suspension until he is recalled from the minor leagues. RHP Sandy Rosario was recalled from Fresno to take Kontos' place in the bullpen, and he gave up one run in 1 1/3 innings Tuesday. ... San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy was also suspended for one game for Tuesday's incident and served it Wednesday night. Bench coach Ron Wotus managed in Bochy's place. ... Pittsburgh RHP Gerrit Cole will make a second start Sunday, facing the visiting Dodgers. There had been question if Cole might return to Triple-A Indianapolis after making his major league debut Tuesday night. However, he will get at least one more start with LHP Wandy Rodriguez, RHP Jeanmar Gomez and RHP James McDonald on the disabled list. ... Gomez (strained right forearm) will begin an injury rehabilitation assignment Thursday night for Indianapolis. Gomez is scheduled to pitch four innings and will be on a 60-pitch limit. ... In the finale of the three-game series Thursday night, Giants RHP Matt Cain (4-3, 5.09) will face Pirates RHP Charlie Morton, who will be activated from the disabled list to make his first major league appearance since May 29, 2012. Morton underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery June 14, 2012.
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