Giants fall into second place following 4-3 loss to Pirates

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Giants manager Bruce Bochy is trying to stay positive, even as his ballclub continues to be mired in its longest slump of the season.

It's getting more difficult to do with the worst record in baseball since the All-Star break.

Jung Ho Kang hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat San Francisco 4-3 on Tuesday night to knock the Giants out of first place in the NL West.

"A lot of baseball left," Bochy said. "We created this with our struggles more than anything. We know that. We've been through these funks. Now it's up to us to find a way to get on a roll."

That might not be easy if catcher Buster Posey's back continues to trouble him.

Posey returned to the lineup following a two-game absence but is clearly still sore. He slowly jogged from first base to second after hitting an RBI double into the gap in right-center — Triples Alley as it's known at AT&T Park. Posey was also held up at third base after Brandon Crawford's double to deep left in the sixth.

"He was taking it easy a little bit because of his back," Bochy said. "I thought he swung the bat well, had a pretty good game. He looked like he felt fine."

San Francisco dropped one-half game behind the Dodgers in the West. Los Angeles beat Philadelphia earlier in the day.

The Giants, who had led the division since May 10, have the worst record in baseball since the All-Star break at 9-20.

"Nobody's happy the way we've been playing," second baseman Joe Panik said. "We know we're not playing the way we should. We're not giving in. We're just not getting the job done."

San Francisco had runners on second and third with one out in the ninth following an error by Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer and Panik's double. Pittsburgh closer Tony Watson got Ehire Adrianza to pop up to the infield before Angel Pagan grounded to second to end the game.

Andrew McCutchen had two hits while Gregory Polanco drove in two runs without a hit to help the Pirates remain one game behind the second NL wild card.

Kang homered off reliever Derek Law (4-2) one pitch after McCutchen was thrown out attempting to steal second base. It was Kang's 14th home run this season and third in four games.

"I just wish I had gotten off him off the plate a bit," Law said. "I had to make one more pitch and couldn't get the job done."

Giants starter Jeff Samardzija, who took a no-decision against the Pirates on June 22, allowed three runs over six innings. He struck out five and walked one.


Giants: San Francisco and 41-year-old right-hander Joe Nathan agreed to a minor league contract. Nathan, who has 377 career saves, will report to the Giants Double-A team in Richmond.


Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (2-0) faces the Giants for the third time in his career Wednesday but the first since being acquired from the Yankees.

Giants: RHP Matt Cain (4-7) pitches the finale for San Francisco. He has a career 3.04 ERA against Pittsburgh.