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The Pittsburgh Pirates blanked the San Francisco Giants 4-0 on Thursday night on the back of a fantastic start by Charlie Morton. The Pirates were able to get to Jake Peavyearly and give Morton the lead as he cruised to his ninth win of the season. After he exited the reinforcements from the bullpen did not let up and the Pirates took the first game of the four-game series.
The Pirates got one run off of Peavy in the first inning when Aramis Ramirez blasted a ground rule double to score Starling Marte, who was hit by a pitch for the 14th time this season. Peavy was tagged for a second run in the third inning off of a double byJung Ho Kang that brought in Marte and moved Ramirez to third. During Ramirez’s at-bat, Marte stole his first of two bases on the evening, giving him 24 in total on the season.
Pittsburgh padded its lead in the sixth inning when Neil Walker connected for his 13th home run of the season, a two-run blast that gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead. This would prove to be all the Pirates would need as the Giants were not able to get anything going against Morton.
Madison Bumgarner is in position to become the first pitcher since 2011 to throw three consecutive complete games in part because of his dazzling stuff on the mound, but also because his hitting has been strong enough for manager Bruce Bochy to save pinch hitters.
The San Francisco ace returns to the mound Friday night in Pittsburgh as the Giants try to slow the streaking Pirates, and that’s exactly what Bumgarner did in last year’s wild-card game.
Cliff Lee was the last pitcher to throw three straight complete games, and he did so with a shutout in each. Bumgarner (14-6, 2.98 ERA) hasn’t been quite on that level, but the latest was the fourth shutout of his career after he gave up three hits with 14 strikeouts in Sunday’s 5-0 home win over Washington.
On a three-start winning streak, he’s posted a 0.73 ERA and 0.63 WHIP with 35 strikeouts in 25 1-3 innings.