- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Tim Hudson doubled for the first hit given up by Francisco Liriano. The Giants right-hander later took a comebacker off his right leg that could have ended his start too soon. He shook it off, literally, and stayed in the game.

Hudson (3-5) hung tough with Liriano for seven innings and each finished with six strikeouts, yet San Francisco struggled again to support him as the Giants lost 5-2 and the Pittsburgh Pirates left the Bay Area with a three-game sweep.

Jordy Mercer broke a fifth-inning tie when he homered for the second straight day. It was a ball off Mercer’s bat in the third that got Hudson in the quadriceps.

“I felt like I gave us a chance. Liriano is pretty good and he pitched a good game. Runs were hard to come by,” Hudson said. “It wasn’t a fun day for me by any means. There was a lot of battling for me. The big home run by their shortstop was a killer for me. I needed to make a better pitch.”

Hudson, who lost his fourth straight outing against the Pirates, has received just 17 runs of support in 11 starts.

The Giants lost their fifth straight game, their longest skid since dropping eight in a row April 10-17. The Pirates earned their first sweep in San Francisco since Aug. 10-12, 2007.

“They are a hot team. They pitch well. They get timely hits. We couldn’t mount any offense,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Hudson pitched well, what a gutty effort. He got hit pretty good but shrugged it off and threw a good game for us.”

San Francisco led in each of its last four losses. The Giants were swept for the second time this year and first since April 13-15, at home by Colorado.

The pitchers had the first hits of the game after each retired the initial eight batters in order, Liriano with a single in the top of the third and Hudson on a double in the bottom half.

The Pirates have won 12 of their last 16 games and bounced back from a losing series at San Diego last weekend.

“I just like the fact we’ve been able to turn our season in a much better direction than we were almost two weeks ago Friday,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Pirates left fielder Jose Tabata fell backward after crashing hard into the wall trying to catch Hudson’s ball but stayed in the game.

“That’s the best swing I’ve put on a ball in a while, so I’ll take it,” Hudson said of his third hit and first for extra bases.

Tabata hit a tying single in the fourth. Mercer followed his home run with a ninth-inning double, and Francisco Cervelli singled in a run.

Four of Mercer’s 23 big league home runs have come in 10 games at AT&T; Park.

Jared Hughes pitched the eighth and closer Mark Melancon followed Rob Scahill with the bases loaded in the ninth to finish for his 16th save after allowing Brandon Crawford’s RBI groundout.

Nori Aoki was thrown out stealing third in the third, and Bochy challenged the call. It was upheld after 3 minutes, 31 seconds.

WHITE HOUSE VISIT

Reigning World Series champion San Francisco will visit the White House for the third time in five years Thursday, then travel by train to Philadelphia.

“It’s a fun time for all of us, a special time. You’re getting honored,” Bochy said. “The ring ceremony, the parade, this is the last part of the success you had the previous season.”

Former player Michael Morse will join the Giants in Washington. He is on the DL with the Marlins.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: LF Starling Marte, with just one hit in his last 23 at-bats since a home run Thursday at San Diego, was left out of the starting lineup and then entered as a pinch runner and stayed in for defense.

Giants: RF Hunter Pence had the day off to rest his bruised wrist from making a diving catch to rob Andrew McCutchen on Monday night, while SS Crawford rested a tight calf before entering the game late. … RHP Jake Peavy tested his strained lower back with a 40-pitch bullpen and will start Saturday for Triple-A Sacramento in the first of a few rehab outings. … RHP Matt Cain (elbow) threw 42 pitches in three innings of an extended spring training game in Arizona.

UP NEXT

Pirates: RHP Charlie Morton starts Friday’s opener at Atlanta.

Giants: Friday starter Tim Lincecum (5-3) will skip the White House and fly separately Thursday morning - after the team’s overnight flight - to get rested in Philadelphia. It was the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner’s choice.

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