Banged-up Pirates look to keep rolling vs. Giants

The Pittsburgh Pirates will take a four-game winning streak and the National League's best record into the second game of a weekend home series Saturday against the San Francisco Giants.

"We can put things together," catcher Francisco Cervelli told AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh after he hit a two-run double in the first inning Friday to help the Pirates earn a 4-1 win over the Giants and improve to 11-6.

"We can pitch. We can score runs."

Pittsburgh could have an altered lineup Saturday, however.

The Pirates played Friday without regular second baseman and leadoff hitter Adam Frazier, who had back spasms. Center fielder Starling Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez collided chasing a fly ball, with Marte riding off on a cart favoring his abdomen and Gonzalez walking off after having his left collarbone/shoulder examined.

There was no postgame update on Marte or Gonzalez.

"It's the next man up," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the possibility of players missing time. "Guys are expected to come out here and fit in and fold in and play."

Aside from injuries, the Giants could use a little of what the Pirates had Friday -- some first-inning offense. Pittsburgh scored all of its four runs in the first, while San Francisco went meekly with two strikeouts and a groundout.

In fact, the Giants, who have lost three in a row, have not scored a first-inning run this season.

"We're very much aware of it," manager Bruce Bochy told MLB Network. "We talked about it. We'd love to come out firing, but it hasn't happened yet in that first inning. You always want to be the first team to score. It makes life a lot easier. You don't want to put that added pressure, either.

"But at the same time, we're trying to get it going early. That's kind of been our issue so far this year -- the first three, four innings we just have a hard time getting things rolling, then later on we pick it up. Hopefully, we'll change that."

San Francisco left-hander Derek Holland (1-2, 4.09 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh right-hander Jameson Taillon (0-2, 3.43) on Saturday.

Holland is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two career starts against the Pirates. He won his only start at PNC Park, last May 13, when he pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts to help San Francisco break a six-game losing streak.

Taillon is still looking for his first win going into his fifth start, but it's not because he is pitching poorly: He owns a 1.14 WHIP in 21 innings. However, he has been charged with six unearned runs, more than the five he had given up in his career coming into 2019.

On Sunday, Taillon gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings, with one walk and four strikeouts, in a game at Washington. The Pirates came back to win 4-3.

Taillon has a 1.08 ERA in his past four starts at PNC Park, totaling 25 innings, dating to last August.

He has had mixed results against San Francisco, in a small sample size. He is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three career starts amounting to 12 innings. That includes three scoreless innings in one start last year that he left because of a finger laceration, and a career-high 10 runs (nine earned) allowed in an 11-3 loss in 2017.

--Field Level Media
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