PITTSBURGH (AP) – Cole Tucker made a splash in his major league debut, hitting a two-run homer as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 in a game shortened to five innings because of rain Saturday.
Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in the 2014 draft, Tucker sent a pitch from Derek Holland (1-3) a projected 431 feet into the bushes beyond the center field wall with two outs in the fifth inning to put the Pirates in front. His teammates summoned the 22-year-old shortstop out of the dugout for a curtain call, and Tucker obliged by walking onto the field and tapping his chest as fans roared.
Jung Ho Kang hit his third home run for Pittsburgh, which has won a season-high five straight. Bryan Reynolds, who like Tucker was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis early Saturday, added a single in his first big league game. Jameson Taillon (1-2) allowed one run and four hits with a walk and three strikeouts to earn his first victory in five starts this season.
Steven Duggar laced an RBI single off Taillon in the fifth to tie it, but the Pirates responded immediately.
Pablo Reyes led off the bottom half with a walk, moved to second on Taillon’s sacrifice and trotted home when Tucker took Holland deep to become the first Pirates player to homer in his first big league game since outfielder Starling Marte did it on July 26, 2012, against Houston.
The game was halted at the conclusion of the fifth and called after a delay of 3 hours, 8 minutes.
Holland struck out seven in five innings but Pittsburgh punished his mistakes. Kang crushed a 79 mph breaking ball and sent it well into the seats in left field leading off the third. Tucker hung in there on a 91 mph sinker and drilled it between the “A” and the “T” in the “Pirates” bush beyond the wall in center.
The Giants have dropped four straight and five of six.
The Pirates called up Tucker and Reynolds to fill in for Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez, both of whom will be out indefinitely following a violent collision in the eighth inning of a 4-1 win Friday night. Gonzalez broke his collarbone and Marte bruised his abdomen and upper right leg after the players slammed into each other while trying to chase down a fly ball to shallow center.
Pittsburgh placed Gonzalez on the 60-day injured list, though team director of sports medicine Tom Tomczyk expects the infielder to return this season. The Pirates put Marte on the 10-day injured list, making him the fourth member of Pittsburgh’s outfield to miss significant time, joining right fielder Gregory Polanco (shoulder surgery), left fielder Corey Dickerson (strained right shoulder) and utility outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall (broken right index finger).
The Pirates still began the day with the best record in the National League, a spot they’ve reached thanks largely to their starting pitching. Taillon’s outing dropped the rotation’s ERA to 1.96, second-best in the majors behind Tampa Bay.
While the offense has been so-so at best, the arrival of Tucker and Reynolds could help. Tucker was hitting .333 with three home runs in Triple-A. Reynolds, acquired in a trade with the Giants in January 2018 that sent Andrew McCutchen to San Francisco, was tied for the International League lead in home runs (five) when Pittsburgh brought him up.
Pirates: Held 2B Adam Frazier out of the lineup with back spasms. … RHP Jordan Lyles played catch and should be ready for his next start. Lyles took a line drive off his pitching hand against the Giants on Friday.
The weekend series concludes Sunday when Chris Archer (1-0, 2.00 ERA) faces San Francisco’s Dereck Rodriguez (3-3, 3.63).
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