PITTSBURGH (AP) Jean Machi has been playing professional baseball in the United States since 2002 when he pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies’ team in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
Yet the beefy right-handed reliever, now with the San Francisco Giants, had never been asked to bunt until the 13th inning Monday night. Not only did he successfully execute get the bunt for a sacrifice, but caused Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jared Hughes to rush a wide throw to first base.
The error enabled Hunter Pence to score from second base and give the Giants an 11-10 victory.
“I saw (Hughes) got a late break off the mound and slipped and I knew I had to run hard,” Machi said through a translator. “I was excited because I did my job. They wanted me to move the runners up and I did that.”
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said he was confident the 6-foot, 255-pound Machi could bunt despite the lack of experience.
“Looks are deceiving in his case,” Bochy said. “He’s a lot more athletic than he looks.”
San Francisco overcame a six-run deficit to run its winning streak to a season-best six games and also win for the 10th time in 11 games while sending the Pirates to their 18th loss in 23 games.
Hughes (1-1) came on to start the 13th with the score tied at 10. With one out, he walked Pence and hit Juan Perez with a pitch to put runners on first and second base.
Machi (5-0) then dropped down his bunt and wound up tied for the major league lead in victories with three starting pitchers: the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Zack Greinke, St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright and Toronto’s Mark Buehrle.
Giants backup catcher Hector Sanchez had four hits and three RBIs, while Buster Posey, who got a day off from catching and played first base, had three hits, three runs scored and two RBIs. Pence finished with three hits and scored four times and Angel Pagan also had three of San Francisco’s 20 hits. Michael Morse drove in two runs with a pair of doubles.
Posey forced extra innings when his RBI single in the ninth off Mark Melancon tied it at 10.
Machi pitched two scoreless innings and Sergio Romo worked the 13th for his 10th save.
“It’s just one of 162 games and at the end of the day it’s about playing hard, playing to the end and never giving up,” Pence said.
The Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen had four hits and Pedro Alvarez homered and drove in four runs.
Pittsburgh went ahead by six runs, 8-2, after scoring four times in the fifth inning but couldn’t hold on.
Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke, recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day, allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings. The Pirates needed a spot starter after their rotation was scrambled last week by back-to-back rainouts in Baltimore.
Six Pirates relievers gave up four runs in 7 2/3 innings and Bryan Morris let all three inherited runners scored when he relieved Locke.
“Well, it basically got to our location not being good,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of his bullpen’s struggles. “We were up in the zone more than we normally are.”
San Francisco’s Yusmeiro Petit allowed eight runs in 4 1-3 innings. He started in place of Matt Cain, who was placed on the disabled list Sunday with a cut on his right index finger.
“I thought we were dead in the water,” Bochy said. “It was one of the grittiest games I’ve been a part of in this group.”
NOTES: Bochy is confident Cain will make his next scheduled start Saturday against the Dodgers at Los Angeles. … San Francisco 1B Brandon Belt, who entered in a 2-for-29 slump, did not start but went 1-for-2 with a walk off the bench. … Pittsburgh RHP Jason Grilli played catch for the second time in three days but there is no timetable for when the closer, who is on the DL with a strained left oblique, will be able to throw off a mound. … The Pirates optioned RHP Casey Sadler to Indianapolis to open a roster spot for Locke.
Updated May 6, 2014