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Giants rally from a big deficit again and spoil a solid start by Paul Skenes in 7-6 win over Pirates

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Matt Chapman homered for the third straight game, this one a three-run drive during an eighth-inning rally, and the San Francisco Giants spoiled a solid start by Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Paul Skenes to surge to a 7-6 win on Thursday.

Chapman went deep off Hunter Stratton (1-1), and Brett Wisely delivered a go-ahead single off Aroldis Chapman five batters later as the Giants overcame a big deficit for the second time in less than 24 hours.

San Francisco trailed by five early in a 9-5 extra-inning victory on Wednesday. The Giants were down 6-2 through seven on Thursday before Chapman & Co. got going against Pittsburgh’s struggling bullpen as the Giants won consecutive games in which they trailed by at least four runs for the first time since 1998.

“Incredible,” San Francisco manager Bob Melvin said, later adding, “It’s a complete team win, both games.”

Skenes allowed one run on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts in six innings in his third major league start. He exited with the Pirates comfortably ahead before things fell apart.

Chapman, Wisely, Lamont Wade Jr. and Heliot Ramos had two hits apiece for the Giants, who won for just the fifth time in their last 13 road games. Luke Jackson (2-1) picked up the win by working the seventh. Tyler Rogers pitched the ninth for his first save this season.

“It’s definitely nice to get into the bullpen,” said Chapman, who is hitting .404 (17 of 42) with four home runs and 13 RBIs in his last 11 games. “We knew that their bullpen is pretty taxed after the last couple of days. So we felt like if we could get into that bullpen we’ve got a chance to come back, which is nice.”

The rally came after Skenes had long since exited following another impressive outing.

The 6-foot-6 right-hander struck out just three in his third major league start but expertly worked his way around traffic on the bases. The 21-year-old rookie allowed six hits (all singles) with a walk while lowering his ERA to 2.25.

“Didn’t have the best stuff but made do,” Skenes said. “That’s their game, what they did today. They’re not going to punch out a whole lot, and put the ball in play. Overall, pretty happy with it.”

The top pick in the 2023 amateur draft has become an immediate sensation in Pittsburgh. A crowd of 23,162 that included Skenes’ girlfriend, gymnast/influencer Livvy Dunne — more than double what the club had been averaging for weekday matinees this season — came out to see the hard-throwing Skenes and his trademark mustache, a look that is getting nearly as much attention as his 100-plus mph fastball.

Six days removed from a dominant start at Chicago in which he tossed six hitless innings against the Cubs, Skenes wasn’t quite as overpowering against the Giants. Only four of his 93 pitches reached triple digits and he relied more on contact to work himself out of trouble, using a pair of double plays and some solid defensive work by third baseman Jared Triolo to get through San Francisco’s lineup nearly three times.

It’s when Skenes left that things got dicey.

“Our bullpen has got to be better,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “We had, what, a 5-1 lead yesterday, 6-2 lead today? We have to be better. … We have to win games like that.”

Joey Bart hit a 434-shot off the batter’s eye behind the center-field fence in the fourth for the first grand slam of his career. Bart, taken second overall in the 2018 draft by the Giants before being acquired by Pittsburgh in April, also added a double before being ejected by first base umpire Alex Tossi after grounding out to end the eighth.

Andrew McCutchen led off the bottom of the first with his seventh home run of the season for Pittsburgh.

ON THE MOVE

Giants: Placed LHP Blake Snell on the paternity list and recalled RHP Nick Avila from Double-A Richmond.

Pirates: Sent struggling OF Jack Suwinski down to Triple-A Indianapolis and recalled LHP Jose Hernandez from their top farm club. Suwinski, who hit 26 home runs in 2023, is batting just .174 with four homers and 13 RBIs through 49 games this season.

UP NEXT

Giants: Continue their road trip Friday night when they visit the New York Mets.

Pirates: Welcome the Atlanta Braves to PNC Park for a three-game set starting Friday.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

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