Pirates walk it off, spoil Thairo Estrada’s clutch homer

What we learned as walk-off squanders Giants sweep of Pirates originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The loss in Pittsburgh on Sunday did come with a small silver lining for the Giants: At least they don’t have to face Jack Suwinski 19 times a year.

The rookie outfielder hit three homers, including a walk-off to the right off Tyler Rogers, leading the Pirates to a 4-3 win that kept the Giants from what would have been their second straight weekend sweep.

After the Giants tied the game at the top of the ninth, Suwinski jumped on an elevated slider from Rogers and hit a no-doubter to the right.

Suwinski was drafted by the Padres but dealt to the Pirates in the Adam Frazier deal last July. It didn’t at all help the Padres reach the postseason, but Suwinski has emerged with 11 homers this year, the most of any MLB rookie. He nearly had as many homers on Sunday as the Giants had hits.

The Giants had just three hits in the first eight innings, but they got some help in the first.

Luis González reached on an error to start the game, and a couple of walks from Mitch Keller loaded the bases. Joc Pederson hit a bouncer that would have been a double play with a normal defensive alignment, but it snuck through the shift for a two-run single. That was all the Giants got until the ninth.

The Pirates hit three solo homers to take the lead, two off Alex Cobb and one off Sam Long, who had not allowed an earned run since May 4. That’s been the game plan in recent days for the Giants, who entered the day with 10 straight solo homers. Thairo Estrada extended that streak at the perfect time, taking Pirates closer David Bednar deep to left to tie the game while leading off the ninth.

Weird Waste

The Giants have come up short in a lot of big situations this season, but the wasted opportunity in the seventh was one of the weirder stretches of the season. With two on and no outs, Evan Longoria was sent up to pinch-hit against rookie left-hander Cam Vieaux. He bounced one to third and the Pirates attempted to turn a double play, but Brandon Crawford, who was on first, bulldozed second baseman Hoy Park, preventing a second throw.

Crawford, of course, was ruled to have interfered, and a double play was called. It appeared Crawford might have been attempting to replicate a recent play where a St. Louis Cardinals runner went through the bag at second and caused chaos, but it didn’t work. When González struck out, the threat was over. Park also did not remain in the game, so hopefully he did not come out of that collision with a major injury.

Back In (Orange And) Black

Cobb returned to the rotation after a couple weeks on the IL because of neck stiffness. He was on a pitch count and lasted 60 pitches and four innings, allowing two earned runs, both on homers.

That was a rarity for Cobb, who generally has suppressed homers in his career and allowed just three total in his first eight Giants starts. Cobb struck out a pair, walked one, showed good velocity and got his usual array of ground balls. His next start will come at home next Friday, and perhaps that’s when he’ll finally get on track. All of the advanced metrics are off-the-charts good, but Cobb is currently carrying a 5.62 ERA.

Keep An Eye On Him

It’s very, very early, but González looks like a potential Rookie of the Year frontrunner. The guy to beat thus far has been San Diego left-hander Mackenzie Gore, but Giants fans who are thinking about the award should obviously keep an eye on Suwinksi.

He has just a .296 on-base percentage, but his homers Sunday got him to double digits. He’s the only MLB rookie with at least 10 homers, and he’ll certainly get an opportunity to put up an eye-catching number. The Pirates are in full rebuild mode, and there’s no reason not to run Suwinski out there every day the rest of the summer.

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