PITTSBURGH — Buster Posey snapped the longest homerless drought of his career with a three-run shot and tagged out Pittsburgh’s Jung Ho Kang at the plate for the final out as the San Francisco Giants edged the Pirates 3-2 on Sunday.
Posey sent a fastball from Chris Archer (1-1) just over the fence in centre field with one out in the fifth to give the Giants the lead. The home run was the first for the six-time All-Star catcher since he went deep against the Miami Marlins on June 19, 2018, a span of 237 at-bats.
Posey’s first home run against the Pirates in 49 career games was just enough for San Francisco to end Pittsburgh’s five-game winning streak. Derek Rodriguez (3-2) allowed two runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings to win his second straight start, striking out four and walking one.
Will Smith earned his fifth save of the season with some help from his defence. Kang was on first with two outs after reaching on a fielder’s choice when Pittsburgh rookie Bryan Reynolds laced a double to the right-field corner. Third base coach Joey Cora waved Kang home, but the relay throw from second baseman Joe Panik to Posey beat Kang by a good two steps.
Rodriguez’s lone mistake came in the fourth, when he left an 84-mph changeup over the middle of the plate and Josh Bell mashed it over the stands in right field for a two-run homer that put the Pirates in front.
San Francisco erased the deficit quickly. Rodriguez and Steven Duggar led off the fifth with singles. Posey stepped in one batter later and hit the 134th home run of his career.
Rodriguez and three relievers made it stand up to cool off the NL’s hottest team. The Pirates began the day with the best record in the league thanks to a starting rotation that’s held opponents in check even as Pittsburgh’s offence has occasionally sputtered.
Archer, however, wasn’t exactly crisp. He allowed at least one baserunner in each of the first four innings but managed to escape unscathed each time. He wasn’t as fortunate in the fifth, and Posey’s home run nudged the ERA of Pittsburgh’s starting rotation from 1.96 to 2.11. Archer gave up six hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Reynolds, who singled in his major league-debut on Saturday, had three of Pittsburgh’s four hits. Fellow rookie Cole Tucker, who hit a go-ahead two-run home run in a rain-shortened 3-1 victory on Saturday, doubled leading off the fourth and scored on Bell’s fourth home run of the season.
Pirates: Placed C Jacob Stallings on the 10-day injured list retroactive to April 18 with a cervical neck strain. Pittsburgh filled Stallings’ roster spot by activating C Elias Diaz off the 10-day injured list. Diaz missed the team’s first 18 games while dealing with a virus he was diagnosed with during spring training.
Giants: Are off Monday and wrap up an eight-game trip on Tuesday when they begin a two-game set at Toronto. Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 2.91 ERA) starts against Trent Thornton (0-2, 5.40).
Pirates: Open a four-game home set with Arizona on Monday. Joe Musgrove (1-0, 0.81) faces Zack Godley (1-1, 6.26) in the opener.