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Pirates 3, Giants 1

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Clint Barmes smacked a three-run home run in the seventh inning, ending Madison Bumgarner's shutout bit and delivering the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Friday night.

Second-year Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton continued his fine form of late, limiting the Giants to one run on seven hits over 7 2/3 innings as Pittsburgh, for the second night in a row, won to retain a one-game lead in the National League Central over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Before the game, the Giants placed Thursday's starting pitcher, Matt Cain, on the disabled list, ending the veteran's 261-game run of never having been on the DL. Cain was hit on the right forearm by a line drive off the bat of the Pirates' Gaby Sanchez in the fourth inning of Thursday's 10-5 Giants loss.

Bumgarner (11-8), who replaced Cain as the ace of the Giants staff this season, had blanked the Pirates on four hits through six innings in a 1-0 game before Gaby Sanchez and Josh Harrison singled on back-to-back pitches leading off the seventh.

Neil Walker's second sacrifice bunt of the game advanced the baserunners into scoring position, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy elected to pitch to Barmes, the No. 8 hitter, while the Pirates scurried to get relief pitchers warmed up and send a potential pinch-hitter into the on-deck circle.

Barmes, who hadn't homered off a left-handed pitcher since July 26 of last season, turned on a down-and-in slider and belted his fourth home run of the season into the left-field bleachers for a 3-1 lead.

Making his third career start against the Pirates, Bumgarner had limited the emerging NL Central power to one run in his first 19 innings against the Pirates.

After Barmes' homer, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle recalled Tony Sanchez, his prospective pinch-hitter, from the on-deck circle and sent Morton (5-3) back to the plate. It allowed the right-hander to pitch an additional 1 2/3 innings.

Left-hander Tony Watson relieved Morton with two outs in the eighth and the potential tying run, Brandon Belt, at the plate. Watson struck out the Giants' hottest hitter, stranding Brandon Crawford on second base.

Mark Melancon, serving as the Pirates' closer in the absence of injured Jason Grilli, recorded his ninth save despite giving up a one-out single to Hunter Pence, his second hit of the game.

The Giants out-hit the Pirates 8-7.

The win was Morton's first after successive no-decisions in which he'd allowed a total of just four runs. He struck out three and walked just one.

Morton is now 4-1 since the All-Star break.

In assuring a winning seven-game Western swing by recording a fourth win in five games, the Pirates recorded their 34th road win of the season, matching last year's total. They also clinched a season-series win over the Giants with a 4-1 record and just two matchups remaining this weekend.

Andrew McCutchen, who had been hitless in his career against Bumgarner, had two of the Pirates' seven hits. Harrison also had two hits.

The Giants, who lost for the fourth time in five games on their current homestand, fell to 9-23 against NL Central competition this season. They'e been outscored 34-10 on the homestand.

Bumgarner lost his fourth consecutive start. He allowed three runs on seven hits in eight innings, walking four and striking out five.

The Giants, who entered the game with the lowest scoring average in the majors at home (3.4), have scored only 48 runs in 22 games at AT&T Park since the All-Star break.

The Giants scored first, taking advantage of Buster Posey's first extra-base hit in 50 at-bats. He doubled with one out in the fourth and came home on Roger Kieschnick's two-out bloop single to left.

Pirates catcher Russell Martin short-circuited two Giants threats by nailing Pence and Gregor Blanco on steal attempts in the first three innings. The throw-outs were the 25th and 26th of the season in 53 steal attempts against Martin.

Pence and Blanco had been thrown out on just six of 35 steal tries before Martin's twin successes.

NOTES: Cain's 261-game streak to start his career without a DL stint was the sixth-longest among active pitchers. Cain had missed only one scheduled start -- when he was skipped over in the rotation -- in his nine years in the majors ... The Giants recalled RHP Yusmeiro Petit and LHP Mike Kickham from Triple-A Fresno before the game. Both are candidates to make Cain's scheduled start Tuesday in Colorado. ... INF Nick Noonan was demoted to Fresno to create a roster spot for Kickham. ... Pirates OF Travis Snider advanced from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A Indianapolis in his injury-rehab assignment Thursday. Snider has been on the DL since July 28 with a sore left big toe. ... Pirates 14-game winner LHP Francisco Liriano makes his AT&T Park debut Saturday night 13 years after having been signed by the Giants as a 16-year-old free agent out of the Dominican Republic. A minor-leaguer at the time, Liriano was dealt by the Giants along with RHP Boof Bonser and RHP Joe Nathan to the Minnesota Twins in 2003 for C A.J. Pierzynski.
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