Just when Andrew Cashner was on the cusp of the first no-hitter in San Diego Padres history, Jose Tabata recorded the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first hit of the night.
Tabata’s single in the seventh inning was the only hit for the home team in a 2-0 loss to San Diego on Monday night at PNC Park.
Cashner improved on a personal-best season by bringing his record to 10-8. His seven strikeouts increased his total on the year to 121 and the Texas Christian product did not allow a walk. He faced the minimum 27 batters as Andrew McCutchen grounded into a 6-4-3 double play two batters after Tabata reached base.
He went the distance, pitching his first complete game of the season and his career.
Pittsburgh starting pitcher A.J. Burnett was nearly as masterful, taking a shutout into the seventh inning. Former Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno led off the inning with a single and Rene Rivera advanced him to second with a base hit. Cashner led down a bunt in the next at-bat and reached safely.
A Will Venable sacrifice fly allowed the runners to advance and Cedeno to score, putting San Diego up 1-0. Two batters later, Jedd Gyorko ripped a single through the left side and Cashner came around to score.
Gyorko, a Morgantown, W.Va., native and West Virginia University product, was 1 for 5 with two strikeouts. An estimated 1,500 family, friends and supporters plan to make the hour trip from North Central West Virginia during this four-game series. As a youngster, Gyorko was a Pirates fan. His older brother, Scott, was a linebacker for the Mountaineers football team from 2001-04.
Kyle Blanks, Rivera and Cedeno each collected two hits for the Padres (69-80). Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez each struck out twice for the Pirates (87-63), who remain tied in a tie for first place in the National League Central Division after St. Louis’ 6-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Burnett went 6 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and eight strikeouts. Vin Mazzaro recorded the final out in the seventh inning and Jason Grilli allowed two hits and struck out a pair in the eighth inning; it was Grilli’s first appearance since giving up two runs in a 5-4 loss to the Cubs on Sept. 13.
Jeanmar Gomez pitched a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts.
Jeff Locke (10-5, 3.14 ERA) takes the mound on Tuesday night in the sixth game of an 11-game homestand. Eric Stults (8-13, 4.03) goes for San Diego.