Alex Wood pitched six innings while keeping his perfect record intact and Mike Yastrzemski hit a game-sealing home run as the San Francisco Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 on Sunday.
Wood (5-0) gave up one run while scattering eight hits. He struck out six and walked one as NL West-leading San Francisco gained a split of the four-game series.
It has been a resurgent season for Wood, who went a combined 1-4 with a 5.96 ERA in 2019 and 2020 with the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers while hampered by back problems.
“He’s an excellent example of what we believe in as an organization about a pitcher,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “He works fasts, pushes the pace, pounds the zone, is around the zone when he’s not throwing strikes, resilient, always pushes (to pitch) another inning. If we continue to be cognizant of keeping him healthy, we’re confident he’s going to continue to produce.”
Wood, who is the first San Francisco pitcher to start a season 5-0 since Barry Zito in 2010, feels the Giants’ philosophy of having pitchers work fast has helped.
“I’ve always liked to push the pace,” Wood said. “A lot of that is my personality. I don’t like waiting around. I want to work at my pace. I want to get in my groove. I don’t want the hitter to dictate the pace or how fast I’m attacking.”
Yastrzemski’s two-run homer to right-center field in the ninth off David Bednar extended the Giants’ lead to 4-1. Yastrzemski returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game with side soreness.
San Francisco’s Buster Posey had three hits and a walk. The six-time All-Star catcher is enjoying quite a return, batting .382 in 26 games after opting out of last year’s shortened season because of COVID-19 concerns.
Kapler has been giving the 34-year-old Posey regular rest and the plan is working.
“I feel really good but, ultimately, it’s always going to be about winning games,” Posey said.
Sidearmer Tyler Rogers pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his fourth save.
Evan Longoria scored the tiebreaking run in the sixth on a wild pitch by reliever Clay Holmes. Longoria began the inning with a single off Mitch Keller (2-5).
Keller allowed two runs and six hits in five-plus innings while striking out eight and walking three. That was a major improvement over his previous start when he was rocked for seven runs in 3 1/3 innings by Cincinnati on Tuesday.
“I thought it was the best we’ve seen out of him this year,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “We saw the ball with a different life on it and it was definitely the best execution of his pitches.”
The Giants scored a run in the first inning on a grounder and Ka’ai Tom’s sacrifice fly tied it in the fourth.
Mauricio Dubon added two hits for San Francisco. Adam Frazier and Erik Gonzalez had two hits each for Pittsburgh.
The Giants left a runner on base in every inning but the ninth and stranded a total of 10. The Pirates left nine men on after winning the previous two nights in walk-off fashion.
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt (left side tightness) was a late scratch. … LF Alex Dickerson (bone bruised in left shoulder) was activated from the 10-day injured list and OF Lamonte Wade Jr. was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.
Pirates: C Jacob Stallings left the game with a left quadriceps contusion in the seventh inning after being struck by a foul tip. … 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes (left wrist strain) and RHP Chad Kuhl (right shoulder discomfort) are expected to begin rehab assignments later this week at Triple-A Indianapolis. … 1B Colin Moran and INF/OF Phillip Evans, both sidelined by hamstring injuries, might avoid rehab assignments.
Giants: Open a four-game series at Cincinnati on Monday night with RHP Logan Webb (2-3, 4.74 ERA) facing Reds RHP Sonny Gray (0-2, 3.55).
Pirates: After having Monday off, begin a three-game series at St. Louis on Tuesday with RHP JT Brubaker (3-2, 2.58) opposing Cardinals RHP Jack Flaherty (7-0, 2.47), the MLB wins leader.
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