SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jordy Mercer broke a fifth-inning tie when he homered for the second day in a row, Francisco Liriano struck out six to win his second straight decision and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Wednesday for a three-game sweep.
Liriano (3-4) allowed four hits while outdueling Tim Hudson (3-5), who also struck out six over seven innings but lost his fourth straight outing against the Pirates.
The two pitchers had the first hits of the game after each retired the initial eight batters in order, Liriano with a single in the top of the third and Hudson on a double in the bottom half.
Pirates left fielder Jose Tabata fell backward after crashing hard into the wall trying to catch Hudson’s ball but stayed in the game.
Four of Mercer’s 23 big league home runs have come in 10 games at AT&T Park.
Jared Hughes pitched the eighth, then pinch-hitter Jung Ho Kang hit a two-run double in Pittsburgh’s three-run ninth.
Closer Mark Melancon finished for his 16th save after allowing Brandon Crawford’s RBI groundout.
Tabata hit a tying single in the fourth. Mercer followed his home run with a ninth-inning double, and Francisco Cervelli singled in a run.
Hudson, who has received 17 runs of support in 11 starts, took a ball off his right leg on Mercer’s comebacker for the second out of the third but stayed in the game.
The Giants lost their fifth straight game, their longest skid since dropping eight straight April 10-17. The Pirates earned their first sweep in San Francisco since Aug. 10-12, 2007.
San Francisco led in each of its last four losses.
Nori Aoki was thrown out stealing third in the third, and manager Bruce Bochy challenged the call. It was upheld after 3 minutes, 31 seconds.
WHITE HOUSE VISIT
Reigning World Series champion San Francisco will visit the White House for the third time in five years Thursday, then travel by train to Philadelphia.
“It’s a fun time for all of us, a special time. You’re getting honored,” Bochy said. “The ring ceremony, the parade, this is the last part of the success you had the previous season.”
Former player Michael Morse will join the Giants in Washington. He is on the Marlins’ disabled list.
Pirates: Starling Marte, with just one hit in his last 23 at-bats since a home run Thursday at San Diego, was left out of the starting lineup and then entered as a pinch runner. “Give him a break, back him away,” Hurdle said. “Sometimes he just gets in a hurry to hit. Sometimes what makes you laugh makes you cry.”
Giants: RF Hunter Pence had the day off to rest his bruised wrist from making a diving catch to rob Andrew McCutchen on Monday night, while SS Crawford rested a tight calf before entering the game late. … RHP Jake Peavy tested his strained lower back with a 40-pitch bullpen and will start Saturday for Triple-A Sacramento in the first of a few rehab outings. … RHP Matt Cain (elbow) was slated to throw in an extended spring training game in Arizona.
Pirates: Charlie Morton starts Friday’s opener at Atlanta.
Giants: Friday starter Tim Lincecum (5-3) will skip the White House and fly separately Thursday morning — after the team’s overnight flight — to get rested in Philadelphia. It was the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner’s choice.