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SF Giants: Bullpen Meltdown Leads to 8-6 Loss Against Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 15: Johnny Cueto #47 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 15, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 15: Johnny Cueto #47 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 15, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 15: Darin Ruf #33 of the SF Giants throws makes a throw home in the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 15, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Saturday’s game almost became The Darin Ruf Game, but an SF Giants bullpen meltdown distracted from a nice performance from the right-handed hitter.

SF Giants: Bullpen Meltdown Leads to 8-6 Loss Against Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates have proven to be a gritty bunch against the Giants, but San Francisco got out to a commanding lead early on.

Before the Pirates could even step to the plate, the Giants had a 3-0 advantage thanks to a solo home run from Darin Ruf and a two-run blast from Brandon Crawford. It seemed that this would be a game that San Francisco would lock up early.

They scratched another run across the board in the third inning on an RBI single from Mauricio Dubón and two more off of a two-run homer from Mike Tauchman. At that point, the Giants held a 6-2 lead by the sixth inning.

However, the bullpen is still figuring out its identity, so a four-run lead was not enough. It did not take much, but the Pirates strung together a four-run rally in the seventh inning when Sam Selman opened by recording two outs while allowing two runners to reach base. SF Giants manager Gaber Kapler decided to pull the left-handed reliever and replace him with Camilo Doval.

Dova has struggled mightily as a major league reliever, and this might be one of those moves that Kapler could take back. The hard-throwing righty allowed four runs to cross home plate without a lot of hard contact. When the inning came to an end, the Giants and the Pirates were tied at six.

At that point, the Pirates held the advantage as the home team and they never looked back. The SF Giants failed to score runs in the eighth and ninth innings, leaving the door open for a late comeback by the Pirates.

Jake McGee was tabbed to preserve the tie in the ninth. Adam Frazier led off the bottom of the 9th with a single and nearly scored on a double from Byran Reynolds. A perfect relay from Mike Tauchman to Brandon Crawford to Curt Casali nabbed Frazier out at home.

The Giants felt like they had a chance to get it into extra innings. Jacob Stallings came to the plate with a runner on third with two outs and a hit would have ended the game. Stallings slammed an 0-1 offering from McGee to left field for a two-run, walk-off homer for the Pirates.

Related Story. SF Giants Prospect 5/14 Rundown: Wilson's Hot Bat

It has been a tough series for the Giants so far, but they have a chance to even the series on Sunday with Alex Wood on the mound. Nevertheless, it is difficult to ignore that San Francisco needs a lot of help in the bullpen and that might be one area that really limits the team’s upside in 2021.

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