Meadville Tribune

Sports

August 21, 2013

MLB: Padres fight off sweep by Pirates

SAN DIEGO — The USC Trojan from Huntington Beach beat the UCLA Bruin from Newport Beach.

Ian Kennedy outpitched Gerrit Cole, combining with two relievers on a four-hitter, and the San Diego Padres beat the NL Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep.

“That’s a classic matchup. A Bruin and a Trojan,” said Padres manager Bud Black, whose father attended USC. “I liked the outcome. I liked the result. They both threw well. They’re both fine young pitchers. You can see where he was the No. 1 pick. It’s the first time we’ve seen him, obviously. He’s got a good arm.”

Cole pitched at UCLA before the Pirates made him the first pick overall in the June 2011 draft.

Kennedy, a first-round draft pick of the New York Yankees in 2006, is five years older than Cole, so he never played against him in college.

“UCLA wasn’t very good when I was there,” Kennedy said. “They’re very good now. I’ll give them that. It was a rivalry just because it was UCLA. We beat up on them pretty good.”

Kennedy gave Cole his props. “He is a No. 1 pick overall, and he throws a lot harder.”

Yonder Alonso drove in both runs for the Padres.

The Pirates’ lead in the NL Central was reduced to one game over the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat Milwaukee 8-6.

Kennedy (5-9) won for the second time in four starts since being obtained from the NL West-rival Arizona Diamondbacks on July 31. He held Pittsburgh to four hits, struck out eight and walked three.

In his previous start, Kennedy allowed three home runs in 4 2-3 innings in a 5-2 loss to the New York Mets on Friday.

Luke Gregerson pitched the eighth, walking Felix Pie and allowing Andrew McCutcheon’s sacrifice fly, and Huston Street worked the ninth for his 24th save in 25 chances.

The Pirates’ lead in the NL Central was reduced to one game over the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat Milwaukee 8-6.

Kennedy got into and out of trouble in the first, when the Pirates had two singles and two walks in the first inning, and didn’t score. Pie, who was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier Wednesday, beat out an infield single before being thrown out trying to steal second. With two outs, McCutcheon singled and Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin walked to load the bases. Kennedy got out of the jam by striking out Garrett Jones.

“I thought Ian, after the first inning, settled in and really threw the ball well,” Black said.

Before striking out Jones, Kennedy said he was “trying to throw the strikeout pitch rather than having them put it into play weakly and see what happens.”

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Kennedy’s changeup was “filthy.”

“His fastball command came around about the second inning,” Hurdle said. “He was tough to square up. The changeup made the fastball look so much better for him. He’s throwing 91 (mph) and it’s coming in after that changeup looking way hotter than that.”

Alonso’s sacrifice fly in the third brought in Will Venable, who hit a leadoff double and advanced on Chris Denorfia’s groundout. In the fifth, Alonso singled in Denorfia, who singled with two outs and stole second.

“I just felt like I let a pretty good opportunity slip away because we had an opportunity to come in here and sweep and set the tone for the San Francisco series,” Cole said. “I was just disappointed that I wasn’t better able to help the team.”

Said manager Clint Hurdle: “There were some balls up. He pitched out of the stretch most of the time. I think he competed very, very well. He had a good outing.”

Cole (6-6) allowed two runs and 10 hits in six innings, struck out five and walked none.

NOTES: It was the first time a former USC pitcher beat a former UCLA pitcher since Seattle’s Randy Johnson beat Tim Leary of the New York Yankees on May 17, 1991. ... To make room for Pie, the Pirates optioned RHP Ryan Reid to Triple A. To make room on the 40-man roster for Pie, Wandy Ramirez was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. ... The Pirates open a four-game series at San Francisco on Thursday night, when LHP Jeff Locke (9-4, 2.90 ERA) is scheduled to start against RHP Matt Cain (8-8, 4.35). ... The Padres are off Thursday before opening a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs. RHP Edinson Volquez (9-10, 5.72 ERA) is scheduled to start opposite RHP Edwin Jackson (7-13, 4.89).

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