Starling Marte, who went 4 for 5, and the Pirate Parrot celebrate Pittsburgh's fourth win in its past five games.


PITTSBURGH - Starling Marte's precocious talent can sometimes get him in trouble at the plate.

The Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder can be in such a hurry to get on base, his bat tends to get ahead of itself.

A well-timed piece of advice helped him break out of a slump Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants.

Told by several teammates to wait a beat longer before swinging, Marte slapped a career-high four hits and scored four times as the Pirates pulled away for a 12-8 victory.

"I think you know it goes back to pitch selection, seeing the ball up, trying to maintain discipline throughout the at-bat," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Something Marte lacked at times during a recent swoon following his scorching start.

Marte began the night in the midst of an 11-for-60 slump before pecking away at San Francisco's Barry Zito (4-5).

The 24-year-old leadoff man hardly seemed bothered by a run-in with San Francisco reliever George Kontos on Tuesday night, when Kontos threw behind Marte at one point in apparent retaliation for Pittsburgh's Tony Watson hitting Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro.

"Whatever happened yesterday was yesterday," said Marte, who added two stolen bases to push his season total to 20.

"I didn't think about it. Everybody wants to do their job. The pitchers have to do their job. That's how I got focused today."

Marte, Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen combined to go 8 for 9 against Zito as the Pirates won for the fourth time in their past five games. Neil Walker and Alex Presley both homered for Pittsburgh, which set season highs for runs and hits (18).

"It was a very good night for our offense to show up on a night it was challenging for everybody off the mound," Hurdle said.

Francisco Liriano (5-2) survived six erratic innings to pick up the win.

Joaquin Arias knocked in three runs for the Giants and Hunter Pence doubled twice but San Francisco continued to struggle on the road. The defending World Series champions have lost 12 of 16 away from home.