For the second night in a row, Gregory Polanco delivered the game-winning hit Wednesday as the Pittsburgh Pirates downed the San Diego Padres 5-2 at PNC Park. It was the fifth win in a row for the Bucs, and their 22nd comeback victory.
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It should also be noted that five of the last seven victories for the crew of the Jolly Roger have been of the comeback variety. With the bringing out of the brooms, Clint Hurdle‘s squad has tied a club record while sitting atop the Majors with 10 series sweeps. The Pirates are 16 games over .500 as their record stands at 50-34.
Polanco took care of business in the eighth as his line drive to right off the Clemente Wall scored Travis Ishikawa, breaking a 2-2 deadlock. With two out, Ishikawa had drawn a walk from San Diego starter Andrew Cashner.
Andrew McCutchen kept the rally going when his line drive single to left scored Polanco. The Pirates fifth and final run came when McCutchen crossed the plate on Jung Ho Kang‘s ground ball single to left.
The score was tied in the seventh when Francisco Cervelli grounded into a force out that drove in Neil Walker. Pedro Alvarez got the Pirates their first run in the bottom of the second as his sacrifice fly to left scored Kang.
McCutchen has hit safely in a career-high 15 consecutive contests. The last member of the Pirates to hit in 15 straight games was Josh Harrison last September. Walker has had a hit in 11 of his last 12 games.
Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton permitted just two earned runs on five hits over six innings of work. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound righthander struck out five and walked four. The 31-year-old Morton hurled 65 of his 104 pitches for strikes in taking on 27 Padres. His record remains at 4-1 in seven career starts against San Diego.
Deolis Guerra was the first to answer the call to the bullpen. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound righthander did not allow a hit or a walk as he struck out two over the seventh and eighth innings. He is now 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.
Hurdle then turned to Antonio Bastardo, who picked up his first save in closing out the ninth. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound lefthander followed Guerra’s lead and did not give up a hit and also struck out two. He has made seven consecutive scoreless appearances at PNC Park this season.
The 28-year-old Cashner surrendered four earned runs on three hits over seven 2/3 innings for the Padres. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound righthander struck out five and walked two in collecting his 10th loss against three victories. The native of Conroe, Texas threw 67 of his 102 pitches for strikes in challenging 28 Pirates at the plate.
San Diego once again claimed an early lead, this time in the top of the first. Matt Kemp launched a 441-foot shot to deep center for his seventh home run. The Padres added another score in the second on Melvin Upton, Jr.’s line drive to center for his first double. The two-bagger was enough to bring Will Venable home. The offense was not to be found for the rest of the evening as the Friars went 0-of-5 with runners in scoring position, and they stranded a total of eight runners on base.
Up Next: The Cardinals and Pirates four-game showdown begins Thursday at PNC Park. The Redbirds will give the ball to 23-year-old righthander Carlos Martinez (9-3, 2.70 ERA/1.25 WHIP). He has put up 105 strikeouts over 100.0 innings pitched.
Pittsburgh will send 27-year-old lefthander Jeff Locke (5-4, 4.15 ERA/1.41 WHIP) to the hill. He has contributed 70 strikeouts over 91.0 innings pitched. The match-up will get underway at 7:05 p.m. and you can view the contest on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The game lasted 2:48, and there were 25,035 in the seats at PNC Park…The Bucs were 44-40 after 84 games last season…Pittsburgh pitching prospect Stephen Tarpley threw a six inning no-hitter Tuesday for the West Virginia Power against the Delmarva Shorebirds in Single-A action…The Pirates have played 15 one-run games since June 1 and have gone 12-3 in those contests.