Seeking a second straight series win, the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon will turn to their "big" winner. That is certainly a relative term, but Gerrit Cole's two wins are twice more than that of any other member of a rotation that has a remarkable aggregate record of 3-15.
Cole will duel Tim Lincecum in the finale of a pulsating series after the Bucs and the Giants split two games that could not have been any more different.
In the wake of the Giants' 11-10 win in Monday's 13-inning slugfest, the Pirates grabbed Tuesday's pitchers' duel, 2-1, when a call at the plate in the bottom of the ninth that could have sent another game into extra innings was reversed after video review.
Wednesday's pitching matchup is a rematch of Cole's Major League debut on June 11, 2013, when he went 6 1/3 innings to score an 8-2 decision over Lincecum at PNC Park.
It will also be an on-field reunion between UCLA products Cole and San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford, although the two haven't quite stayed apart since: Crawford's sister Amy and Cole are an item.
"It'll be a little different, seeing him out there," Crawford said. "But we're both professional athletes, and we have to do our jobs, no matter who it's against. So you have to treat it as a regular game."
In that first meeting, Crawford went 1-for-3 off Cole but, if he has read the scouting reports, knows the 23-year-old right-hander is tougher now that he is using his 97-mph fastball to set up his other pitches, not just to try to blow batters away.
"He has real good secondary stuff," Crawford said. "Anyone who throws that hard, you have to look for the fastball and just react to everything else, otherwise you'd have no chance."
Giants: Hudson takes tough loss in stride
• Tim Hudson perpetuated the Giants' best pitching start to a season in over 30 years with his 8 2/3-innings complete game Tuesday night against the Pirates, but had little to show for it other than a Major League novelty.
Hudson became first Giants pitcher to go seven-plus innings in his first seven starts since Vida Blue did it in his first nine in 1981. However, Hudson lost the latest gem on a video review reversal that gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 walk-off win.
"That's the kind of baseball we live in now, with the replay," Hudson said. "You never know what the outcome's going to be until you get the final conclusion, I guess."
Pirates: Morton is the marathon man
• Although Charlie Morton had to settle for another no-decision Tuesday night, his eight-inning stint represented the first time the Pirates starter pitched through the sixth inning since April 25, when Cole went seven innings against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
For the Bucs to have gone through eight games without any starter surviving the sixth was ironic, because their early-season emphasis was on how consistently their pitchers were going deep into games.
"It's changed, for a variety of reasons. The season has cycles," manager Clint Hurdle said simply. "You might have a plan, and sometimes you have to change it and move on."
• The Giants outlasted the Rockies, 12-10, in 11 innings on April 23, then came Monday's 11-10 win over the Pirates. Between 1958 and 2013, they'd won a total of only 21 games when allowing 10-plus runs.
• Pirates second baseman Neil Walker was hit by a pitch for the seventh time this season, most in the NL; Morton hit two batters to give him seven, also the league high.
• Tuesday's loss was the Giants' first of the season in eight games against teams outside of the National League West.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.