Giants' 10-run fourth inning enough to ensure Pirates' 16th straight losing season

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval says he's lucky. His manager says it's the result of hard work. Either way, they both want to see his surge at the plate continue.

Sandoval finished with five RBIs and the San Francisco Giants rode a 10-run inning to an 11-6 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday, assuring the Pirates their record-tying 16th consecutive losing season.

"Everything is going right," said Sandoval, who is hitting .363 in 21 games since he was called up from Double-A Connecticut on Aug. 14. "Things here are going almost too easy. But it's hard when you have to concentrate on so many things."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy inserted six rookies into the starting lineup and liked what he saw from them, especially Sandoval.

"From game one he's played well," Bochy said of the catcher. "You can see the confidence in this kid. He plays with a lot of enthusiasm. He's fun to watch. He's got a lot of life to him and a lot of life in his bat."

San Francisco rapped out nine hits in its big fourth inning and took advantage of two errors to push across its most runs in a frame since it scored 10 in the second inning against the Houston Astros on Sept. 23, 2003. It also was the most runs in an inning for the Giants at their new ballpark, which opened in 2000.

It started with an error on right-hander Jeff Karstens, and included an injury to All-Star center fielder Nate McLouth as the first eight Giants reached base. Emmanuel Burriss and Nate Schierholtz had two hits apiece in the inning, and Randy Winn and Burriss each scored twice.

"That was a lot of fun," Burriss said. "We needed that. We want to end the season with a bang. Even if we don't come close to the playoffs we want to show the contenders they need to take us seriously."

Sandoval had the big blow, hitting a three-run double into center field that knocked McLouth out of the game. McLouth dived for a sinking liner, but the ball bounced and ricocheted off him into left field.

"I wanted to put the ball in play and get a run in," Sandoval said. "I was fortunate to hit it hard in the gap. I felt bad for him. He's a player."

McLouth left with a cut above his left eyebrow that required six stitches, and was replaced by Nyjer Morgan.

"I was actually lucky I was wearing sunglasses," said McLouth, the stitches visible above his swollen eye. "The ball kind of glanced off them first."

McLouth also required treatment from a Pirates trainer after he was hit by a pitch in the third. He stole second, becoming the seventh player in Pittsburgh history to record 20 stolen bases and 20 home runs in a single season.

Jason Michaels drove in two runs for the Pirates, who matched the Philadelphia Phillies' 1933-1948 major league record for consecutive losing seasons.

"Nobody is happy with the record," manager John Russell said. "Nobody is happy with losing. We're putting in a lot of work and we're making progress. It's just not equating to wins right now."

Karstens (2-5) had his 18-inning road scoreless streak come to an emphatic end as he lost his fifth straight decision. He pitched three-plus innings, and was charged with five earned runs and six hits.

Jonathan Sanchez lasted three innings for the Giants. He threw 78 pitches, giving up three runs, two earned, and five hits.

"I threw a lot of pitches and it was the right thing to take me out," Sanchez said. "They're just trying to save my arm."

Osiris Matos (1-2) allowed two runs in the fourth, but earned his first major league victory.

Game notes
Giants RHP Keiichi Yabu recorded his first career walk (and later scored his first run) in his third career plate appearance. ... The Pirates have scored 14 runs in 8 1/3 career innings against Sanchez. ... Giants pitchers hit four batters, their most since hitting four in a game against the Astros on July 16, 1997. ... Pirates INF Freddy Sanchez is hitting .363 (53-for-146) since the All-Star break. ... The last Giants rookie to drive in five in a game was Damon Minor on July 2, 2002, at Colorado.