GIANTS 8 – PIRATES 0
The Pittsburgh Pirates season which was a success with 88 wins, wild card berth, came to a disappointing end tonight.
Madison Bumgarner silenced the Pirates all night with a four-hit complete game shutout, and Brandon Crawford delivered a crushing blow to the Pirates with a grand slam off Edinson Volquez in the fourth inning, leading the San Francisco Giants to an 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Wild Card game.
The Giants were widely regarded as having a significant edge in the starting pitching matchup and it proved to hold up in a big way.
The Pirates didn’t advance a runner past second base until the eighth inning and Bumgarner was dominant, putting on a dazzling performance on the mound, allowing four hits, while striking out 10 and walking one in nine innings pitched.
Bumgarner pounded the strike zone, throwing 79 strikes on 109 pitches. The Pirates were unable to work Bumgarner into long counts and managed just four hits off Bumgarner, singles from Josh Harrison (2), Russell Martin and Starling Marte.
While the Pirates were never a threat against Bumgarner, the game got away from them quickly.
Despite not locating his pitches well, Pirates starter Edinson Volquez cruised through the first three innings but trouble came for Volquez, Pirates in the fourth inning.
The Giants led off the inning with back to back singles from Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence to put runners at first and second, Volquez than walked Brandon Belt to load the bases with no outs.
Volquez got ahead 1-2 on Crawford but left a hanging breaking ball inside and Crawford made Volquez pay with a grand slam to right to give the Giants a commanding 4-0 lead. — It was Game Over. Volquez would last just five innings, allowing five earned runs and five hits in the loss.
The Pirates decision to start Volquez was controversial after manager Clint Hurdle decided to start Gerrit Cole on Sunday with the Pirates still in the mix for the division title, though, the team still had to rely on beating Johnny Cueto and the Cardinals losing with Adam Wainwright on the mound against a bad Diamondbacks team, just to force a one game playoff. The scenarios just weren’t in the Pirates favor.
Hurdle’s motto has always been play for today, not tomorrow. It might not have mattered anyways but Hurdle opted to make Sunday more important that the Wild Card Game which was the Pirates likely scenario and that’s how things played out.
Edinson Volquez should not be the scapegoat for tonight’s blow out loss by any means. That’s not the point. — At the end of the day, though, you want your best on the field when it comes to a win or go home situation. That’s how you want to go out. The Giants had their best on the mound in Madison Bumgarner, Pittsburgh didn’t.