Kontos proving to be valuable addition for Bucs

Kontos proving to be valuable addition for Bucs

TORONTO -- The last time the Giants sent George Kontos to get them out of a jam, Marcus Semien ripped his third pitch for a go-ahead grand slam. That sequence on July 31 was in the back of Kontos' mind when he took the mound at Rogers Centre in the seventh inning Friday night.

"Just making sure that situation didn't happen again," Kontos said.

It didn't. Kontos needed only eight pitches to escape the inning unscathed, recording three quick outs to strand a pair of runners and extract the Pirates from a critical spot in a 4-2 win over the Blue Jays.

Kontos retired all nine batters he faced in his first three appearances for the Pirates. They haven't been low-leverage situations, either. Kontos pitched a perfect eighth in a 3-0 win over the Tigers on Monday, breezed through a six-pitch eighth in a 6-3 win on Tuesday and held the lead in a two-run game Friday night.

"The fact that they've shown as much confidence as they have in me really means a lot," Kontos said. "It's definitely a credit to [Giants manager Bruce Bochy] and [Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti] and those guys for grooming me to become the kind of pitcher that I've become now. Everything's led up to this point, and I'm glad I'm able to step in and help the team win some ballgames."

The Pirates claimed Kontos, 32, off revocable waivers from the Giants on Aug. 5. Despite his impressive track record and the fact that he's under club control through 2019, San Francisco let Kontos go for no compensation. The move surprised Kontos after 5 1/2 years in San Francisco, particularly since it took place after the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

He's been a valuable addition for the Pirates, quickly helping to stabilize the back end of the bullpen and providing an experienced "bridge" option to setup man Juan Nicasio and closer Felipe Rivero.

"He's been in big situations, obviously. That's what he's done," bench coach/acting manager Tom Prince said. "He's a quality pickup. The experience is invaluable. He's been through this a number of times."

The big moments don't rattle Kontos, who was part of the Giants' 2012 and '14 World Series runs. He has inherited a total of 118 runners since the start of the 2015 season, which ranks fifth among all Major League relievers.

"I think all that has molded me into the kind of pitcher I am today. I go in there and, knock on wood, nothing really phases me," he said. "I understand sometimes I'm going to have good days, and there are going to be bad days. I'm going to leave it all on the field and hope there's more good days than bad days."

Gosselin claimed

The Rangers claimed Phil Gosselin off waivers from the Pirates on Saturday, ending the veteran infielder's brief tenure with the Bucs. Gosselin hit .150 with a .365 OPS in 28 games for Pittsburgh after being acquired in a February trade for Minor League right-hander Frank Duncan.

Gosselin has spent most of the season with Triple-A Indianapolis, where he was hitting .221 with a .494 OPS in 20 games since his most recent demotion. There was not much of a fit for Gosselin, 28, following the recent acquisition of Sean Rodriguez and the Pirates' apparent preference for utility infielder Max Moroff.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.