PITTSBURGH (AP) Despite losing the series, the San Francisco Giants found something positive about their trip to PNC Park: Brandon Belt is beginning to hit.
Belt homered, doubled and drove in all three runs for the Giants in their 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.
The Giants had won 10 of 11 before dropping two straight in Pittsburgh. Belt came into the series in a 2-for-30 rut, but went 5 for 8 with a pair of walks in the three games.
“I’ve been just looking at the video, seeing what I was doing when I was hitting well,” Belt said. “Obviously, the adjustment was a timing issue. I’ve been on that the last few days and I’m starting to come around.”
Belt homered on the first pitch he saw Wednesday, connecting with two outs in the first. He hit a two-run double with two outs in the fifth.
“He was quieter and was seeing the ball better and not drifting through the strike zone,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We need him to get going like we need to get Pablo (Sandoval) going so we can get the line moving and get this thing clicking.”
Giants starter Tim Lincecum (2-2) allowed four runs, eight hits and two walks in four innings. Opponents are hitting .329 against the two-time Cy Young winner.
“I wasn’t finishing my pitches, especially my secondary pitches,” Lincecum said. “When I got ahead in the count, the secondary pitches were just rolling up there and had no bit on them. I’m the type of guy who’s going to have to get guys to chase pitches but I can’t do that when I’m leaving balls up in the strike zone that are so hittable.”
Gerrit Cole (3-2) beat Lincecum for the second time in his 11-month major league , including his major league debut at home last June 11.
Cole had been 0-2 in four starts since winning his first two outings.
Fill-in closer Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth for his second in three chances.
Ike Davis had three hits for the Pirates, who have won four of six after a 1-7 slide.
Cole, the No. 1 pick in the 2011 amateur draft, allowed three runs and seven hits in eight innings with seven strikeouts and a walk.
Andrew McCutchen hit an RBI single in the first and scored on Starling Marte’s double. Travis Snider made it 4-1 with a two-run single in the second.
NOTES: Sandoval was not in the starting lineup after sustaining what Bochy called a sprain of his hand or thumb during the final play of Tuesday night’s game. He pinch-hit for Lincecum in the fifth and singled. … Neil Walker had a second-inning single has reached safely in all 15 home games he’s played against San Francisco … The Giants headed to Los Angeles for a four-game series against the Dodgers that starts Thursday. San Francisco’s starter in the opener, RHP Ryan Vogelsong, has allowed one earned run over 13 innings in his past two starts.
Updated May 7, 2014