The Pirates opened their first series of the year against the defending NL champion New Giants, a scheduled four-game set at the Polo Grounds. Facing a team that’s won the pennant four straight seasons, they needed to be at their best. Instead, three unearned runs cost them in a 5-4 loss.
The teams traded runs in the second. In the top half, George Grantham flied deep to center field to drive in Clyde Barnhart, who’d singled, and moved up on a walk and a bunt. In the bottom half, the Giants tied it when left fielder Hack Wilson led off with a home run to left.
The Pirates’ defense let down starter Babe Adams in the bottom of the fourth. After a leadoff single, Eddie Moore booted Freddie Lindstrom’s grounder to second. Wilson singled in a run, then a fly ball moved everybody up. Giants’ catcher Hank Gowdy grounded to short and Glenn Wright threw home, but catcher Earl Smith dropped the throw, making the score 3-1.
The Pirates came back to take the lead in the top of the fifth. Smith clubbed a one-out home run, his fourth longball of the year. With two out, Max Carey singled and stole second, then Kiki Cuyler lined one over the head of center fielder Billy Southworth. While the ball was loose in the vast expanse of the Polo Grounds, Cuyler circled the bases for his second home run of the year. That put the Pirates up, 4-3.
Those fifth-inning runs, unfortunately, were all the Pirates could do against Giants’ starter Jack Scott. Through the eighth, all they managed was a couple of singles.
The Giants, though, weren’t done. After a pair of singles to start the bottom of the fifth, Bill McKechnie replaced Adams with Johnny Morrison. The first batter he faced, George Kelly, flied to shallow right and the lead runner scored to tie the game when Cuyler threw wildly toward the plate.
The tie lasted only until the next inning. Gowdy reached on an error by Wright, moved up on a walk and a fly ball, then scored on a single by Ross Youngs.
The Giants led, 5-4, and that’s where it stayed. The Pirates had a chance in the ninth when Wright and Grantham started the inning with a single and a walk. Scott got out of it, though, getting Smith and Carey to line out, and striking out pinch hitter Johnny Gooch in between.
The loss went to Morrison, who’s now 4-4. The Pirates are 13-15, while the Giants are 23-7.