With staff ace Francisco Liriano took the bump in San Francisco you had to feel good about the Pirates chances of winning the series and keeping the lead in the NL Central. Weird thing about baseball is that sometimes things don't go as planned and even if you are 99% sure you are going to get a result you aren't that surprised in that 1% throughout a 162 game season.
Liriano got hit around and gave up four runs on five hits in the first inning and was only able to make it through four innings while throwing 102 pitches. He did settle down and give the Pirates three shutdown innings after the first but it was a little too much to overcome.
The offense actually had some chances to get back into the game. Tony Sanchez hit his first every major league home run in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 4-1 and then singled home another run in the sixth inning to make the game 5-3 and actually had you feel like this was going to be a really tight game down the stretch. It might have been but there was a blow when Pablo Sandoval singled home the Giants' sixth run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Four Giants relievers shutdown the Pirates offense from there out.
The Pirates got to Tim Lincecum but they just couldn't get all the way back. Lincecum was yanked after 5.1 innings and over 100 pitches and when you can get a starter out of the game that early then you are going to have a good chance to get a win. It didn't happen. That's baseball. It gives and it takes.
Tony Sanchez was the only Bucco with more than one hit as he had two. His first home run and a single. He drove in two of the Pirates three runs and has been playing some good baseball since being recalled.
Andrew McCutchen was held without a hit for the first time since August 15 and only the fifth time this month. Just as a reference he has 14 multi-hit games in August. So, yea.
The Cardinals won so the Pirates are now tied for the NL Central lead. A win in the series finale would be a nice end to the West coast trip.