- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Pirates still have no answer for Madison Bumgarner.

Ten months after getting shut out by the San Francisco ace in the NL Wild Card, the Pirates managed to knock Bumgarner around but not rough him up in a 6-4 loss on Friday night.

Bumgarner’s four-hit masterpiece to oust the Pirates from the playoffs sparked a postseason for the ages and led the Giants to their third World Series title in five years. Bumgarner wasn’t quite as dominant this time around, getting touched for runs in the first two innings alone. It just wasn’t nearly enough on a night starter Jeff Locke struggled once again.

“We had a couple push situations on him early,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Bumgarner. “We were able to chip him for a run in the first two innings and some opportunities to add on, we weren’t able to push through on those.”

Bumgarner (15-6) gave up three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out six. He also added his fifth homer of the season, a 418-foot shot to the bleachers in left field off Locke that was never in doubt.

“He might be a pitcher but he’s still in a major-league uniform, in the lineup trying to hurt me,” Locke said. “You can’t fall behind guys, especially aggressive guys like him. He just put a good swing on one tonight.”

Bumgarner’s blast gave him a four-run lead and he settled down from there, retiring 14 straight at one point.

“Command wasn’t as good as we would have preferred but it certainly was good enough to compete,” Bumgarner said. “Getting some quick outs, it always helps make up for those long first couple of innings.”

Locke’s innings were even longer. The left-hander yielded six runs and 11 hits to San Francisco. He walked one and struck out two.

“I didn’t really ever get settled in,” Locke said. “It’s not like they’re going to give any at-bats away either.”

Marlon Byrd had three hits, including a two-run home run, in his debut with San Francisco after being acquired in a trade with Cincinnati on Thursday. He later singled and doubled and is hitting .361 against Pittsburgh this season, with six home runs.

“He probably wanted to make a good first impression,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “He did more than that. It’s something we need.”

Michael Morse scored twice for the Pirates, who lost for just the second time in their last 10 games against San Francisco.

Pittsburgh pulled within 6-4 on an RBI single by Aramis Ramirez in the eighth but reliever Josh Osich got pinch-hitter Pedro Alvarez to hit a roller to first base to help San Francisco improve to 17-3 in Bumgarner’s last 20 starts in Aug. 1 or later.

“We tried to adjust in-game, going through,” Hurdle said. “(Bumgarner) is a fierce competitor out there, finds a way to get things done, he’s going to challenge you.”

Santiago Casilla worked the ninth for his 30th save.

JAY-HAY’S RETURN

Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison went 0 for 2 in his return from a lengthy stay on the disabled list due to surgery on his left thumb. Harrison, who went down on July 5, struck out, grounded out and was hit by a pitch before being pinch-hit for in the seventh.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pittsburgh SS Jordy Mercer is nearing a return from a sprained left knee. He hit a home run in a rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday.

UP NEXT

San Francisco’s Mike Leake returns from a stint on the disabled list Saturday when he makes his second start for the Giants since coming over in a trade from Cincinnati. Leake strained his left hamstring in a loss to Texas on August 2. Leake is 8-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 23 starts against the Pirates.

Pittsburgh All-Star Gerrit Cole will try to break out of an August funk. Cole is 0-3 with a 4.70 ERA in four starts this month, including a 4-1 loss to Arizona on Monday.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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