Both Brandons could return for Giants against Pirates

MLB Baseball

The San Francisco Giants, if they are going to get back to true form, will look for more power Friday on the second night of a four-game series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

The Giants were a little meeker than usual at the plate in a series-opening, 3-1 win Thursday. Steven Duggar homered and Mike Yastrzemski hit an RBI triple among the team’s eight hits, but it was a better night for the San Francisco pitchers, who held Pittsburgh to five hits.

On their way to a major-league-co-leading 23 wins, including three in a row, the Giants have loved the power. They have 16 homers in May, tied for the National League lead.

The homer Thursday came from an unlikely source — Duggar socked his first — but San Francisco could get a boost from the return of a couple of regulars Friday.

The Brandons were missing Thursday. First baseman Brandon Belt was a late scratch because of left side tightness that has hampered him the past several days, though he said it isn’t anything serious. Shortstop Brandon Crawford sat out because of side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler said he expects both Brandons to be available Friday but isn’t sure if either will start.

Duggar showed that he could step into the lineup and take on the team identity.

“You just lock it in,” Duggar told NBC Sports Bay Area. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton is well aware of San Francisco’s punch.

“We have to execute pitches. I think that’s the big thing,” Shelton told AT&T Sportsnet. “They’ve got a veteran ballclub. They know what they’re doing, so we just have to make sure we execute pitches and stay out of the middle of the plate.”

The Pirates got a homer Thursday too as Will Craig belted his first in the major leagues. Craig was recalled earlier in the day because of a depth problem at first base, where Colin Moran (groin) already was on the injured list and Phillip Evans (hamstring) landed there Thursday.

The Pirates are 3-11 in their past 14 games but have some good relatively recent history against the Giants, going 3-0-1 in the past four series between the teams.

On Friday, San Francisco right-hander Kevin Gausman (3-0, 1.97 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh left-hander Tyler Anderson (3-3, 3.05).

Gausman has gone at least six innings in each of his seven starts, and he allowed one run or less in all but one of those outings.

Most recently, he gave up one run and three hits in six innings with one walk and seven strikeouts during a 7-1 win against San Diego on Saturday. Gausman retired 11 straight batters from the first to the fifth inning.

“He had (good) stuff,” Kapler said.

Gausman is 1-2 with a 5.97 ERA in eight career appearances, six of them starts, against Pittsburgh.

Anderson, who pitched for San Francisco last year, has been the most consistent member of the Pittsburgh rotation.

He also is coming off a solid win on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs, when he allowed two runs and four hits in eight innings with one walk and six strikeouts.

He said he “attacked the zone, tried to get the ball put in play. … You want to go out there every time and just give us a chance (to win).”

Against the Giants, Anderson is 1-3 with a 4.07 ERA in seven career starts.

–Field Level Media

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