The Pittsburgh Pirates came out on the winning side of a pitcher’s duel Tuesday as they downed the San Diego Padres 2-1 at PNC Park. Clint Hurdle‘s squad has won three in a row and is 10-2 against the National League Western Division this season.
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A.J. Burnett, who was selected to his first All-Star Game Monday, came into the match-up against the Padres with the lowest home ERA, 1.29, in the N.L. The 6-foot-4, 227-pound righthander permitted just five hits, struck out four, and walked three over seven 2/3 innings for the Bucs. The 38-year-old Burnett hurled 70 of his 111 pitches for strikes in battling 29 Padres at the plate. His four strikeouts moved him past Jim Kaat and tied him with Mark Langston for 34th place on the all-time list with 2464.
The bullpen rose to the occasion one more time when southpaw Tony Watson wrapped up the eighth for Burnett as he struck out the one batter he faced. Jared Hughes picked up his second win of the season in keeping the Padres off the score sheet in the top of the ninth. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound righthander delivered eight of his 10 pitches for strikes in taking on three hitters.
Pedro Alvarez had the crowd standing and cheering in the home half of the ninth when he ripped a ground ball single to right off San Diego reliever Brandon Maurer that scored Andrew McCutchen with the go-ahead run from third. With one out, McCutchen worked Maurer for a walk and moved to second on Jung Ho Kang’s ground ball single to center. The All-Star center fielder moved over to third on Francisco Cervelli’s fly ball to center. It was the fourth walk-off win this season for Pittsburgh.
Alvarez had a hand in the Pirates first run in the bottom of the seventh when he reached first base on third baseman Yangervis Solarte’s throwing error. That miscue brought McCutchen home. The Bucs first baseman did not shrink from the spotlight ever with his father-in-law, Padres interim manager Pat Murphy in the opposing dugout.
James Shields earned everyone’s respect with his performance on the North Shore as he surrendered just two hits and one unearned run in seven innings for the Padres. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound righthander threw 60 of his 102 pitches for strikes in jousting with 25 Bucs in the batters box. The Newhall, Calif. native struck out three and walked only one.
The only offense for San Diego came in the second as Alexi Amarista’s sacrifice fly to center allowed Yonder Alonso to cross the plate. The Padres left five runners on base over the course of the evening.
Andrew McCutchen went 1-for-2 tonight and his double in the seventh extended his hitting streak to 13 contests. It ties his career high that he set in his rookie season of 2009.
Up Next: The Pirates and Padres meet Tuesday in the middle contest of their three-game set. The Friars from Southern California will hand the ball to 28-year-old righthander Tyson Ross (5-7, 3.63 ERA/1.46 WHIP).
The Pirates will send 31-year-old lefthander Francisco Liriano (5-6, 2.99 ERA/1.02 WHIP) to the hill. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The match-up will be broadcast on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The game lasted 2:53 and there were 23,182 in the seats at PNC Park…The Pirates placed infielder Josh Harrison on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a left thumb injury. The injury could sideline him up to six weeks. Pittsburgh claimed Travis Ishikawa on waivers Sunday to fill Harrison’s spot on the active roster…Starling Marte left Sunday’s 5-3 victory over Cleveland along the North Shore due to discomfort in his left side. He did not play Monday against San Diego…Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole, Mark Melancon joined Burnett in being selected to play in the 86th All-Star Game Tuesday, July 14 at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.