Photo: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images
For a team already playing out the string in late July, the Giants made splashy news on two fronts Tuesday night.
Most significantly, they agreed to trade third baseman Eduardo Nuñez to the Boston Red Sox, according to Fox’s Ken Rosenthal. The Giants will receive two minor-league pitching prospects in return, The Chronicle confirmed.
On the field, Madison Bumgarner picked up his first victory of the season — two weeks after the All-Star Game and one week before August arrives — as the Giants steamed to a 11-3 victory over Pittsburgh at AT&T Park.
Bumgarner’s long-awaited breakthrough slid into the background after the news broke about Nuñez, the subject of trade rumors most of the month.
And, yes, his departure could clear the way for Pablo Sandoval’s return to San Francisco. Sandoval went 1-for-4 for Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday night.
Nuñez started for the Giants and played 4½ innings, before Kelby Tomlinson pinch hit for him in the fifth. Moments earlier, the television broadcast showed Nuñez hugging several teammates in the tunnel just below the third-base dugout.
He probably still needs to pass a physical exam for the trade to become official. Worth noting: Nuñez was hit by a pitch on his left elbow in the third inning. He clearly was in pain, even if the ball hit him on his thick elbow guard. Nuñez stayed in the game.
The Giants acquired Nuñez, 30, from Minnesota on July 28, 2016. He hit .269 last season for the Giants, and he was hitting .308 this season. He will become a free agent after the season, making a trade all but inevitable.
Bumgarner (1-4), meantime, finally climbed into the win column in his seventh start of this forgettable season. He pitched five solid innings, allowing one run and collecting four strikeouts.
Bumgarner went 0-3 in four starts before spraining his left shoulder in an April 20 dirt-bike accident in Colorado. He was 0-1 in his first two starts after returning from the disabled list.
Tuesday night’s triumph also ensured San Francisco’s first season series victory of 2017, not counting interleague play. The Giants are 4-1 this season against the Pirates, with only Wednesday’s homestand finale remaining.
The Giants gave Bumgarner a rare, welcome cushion by seizing a 10-0 lead through four innings. Honest. This counted as a certifiable eruption for a team with the third-fewest runs in the majors (394) entering Tuesday’s play.
In fairness, some good fortune helped after Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford singled in the second inning. Posey scored the game’s first run when Pirates first baseman Josh Bell corralled Hunter Pence’s grounder and awkwardly lobbed it into left field (while seeking a force play at second).
Crawford then scored on Gorkys Hernandez’s groundout, before things really got wacky.
The Giants scored four more runs in the third, mixing in a hit-by-pitch, intentional walk and Posey’s curious fly-ball double. Pittsburgh right fielder Jose Osuna took a bad angle, allowing the ball to fall barely a couple feet away.
Denard Span strolled home from third, but Nuñez — who stayed near second, logically expecting Osuna to make the catch — did not score.
Still, to their credit, the Giants took full advantage of the Pirates’ generosity. Joe Panik soon smacked a three-run triple to right-center, abruptly stretching the lead to 6-0.
Bumgarner launched another four-run rally with his leadoff single in the fourth. Nuñez provided a perfectly placed, two-run, fly-ball double down the right-field line. Brandon Belt, with three hits in his previous 27 at-bats, roped an RBI double of his own.