Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison, and Pedro Alvarez each hit key triples as the Pittsburgh Pirates won their second in a row against the San Diego Padres, prevailing 8-1 on Tuesday night at Petco Park.
The Pirates (74-51) have now won four of seven and lead the National League Central by two games over the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost in Milwaukee on Tuesday. The third-place Reds fell 3 1/2 games off the pace by virtue of their defeat to Arizona.
Starting pitcher A.J. Burnett went seven innings and allowed one run off four hits and one walk. He departed the game ahead 8-1 after a five-run seventh for the Bucs, capped by a two-run triple from McCutchen and a three-run three-bagger from Harrison, each coming with two outs.
In the top of the first, Neil Walker hit a solo home run off Padres starter Tyson Ross to give Pittsburgh the 1-0 lead. Later in the first, Russell Martin hit a double, scoring Alvarez from first base and extending the Pirates lead to two.
In the top of the third, Alvarez hit an RBI triple to deep left-center, but rookie Padres shortstop Jedd Gyorko hit a solo home run in the fourth, cutting the Pirates lead down to 3-1.
Vin Mazzaro and Jared Hughes pitched the final two innings for the Pirates, who will gun for the three-game sweep at 6:40 Eastern time Wednesday. Rookie Garrett Cole gets the start against San Diego’s Ian Kennedy.
Notes: The Pirates have already clinched their first series win in San Diego in over a decade.