Gerrit Cole continued his excellent recent pitching, striking out 12 in a much-needed 10-1 win for the Pirates, who avoided being swept by the Padres.
Cole allowed one run in six innings. He walked three and struck out nearly half the batters he faced.
The Pirates' offense, meanwhile, broke out in a big way against Ian Kennedy. With a score of 1-1, Pedro Alvarez hit a solo home run, his 34th of the season, with one out in the fourth. The next two runners reached base, and Jose Tabata brought both home with a two-out double to right. Then Neil Walker hit a two-run homer. The Padres then replaced Kennedy with Brad Brach, but the Pirates already had a 6-1 lead.
That was all Tony Watson, Jason Grilli and Stolmy Pimentel would need. (And along the way, Tony Sanchez made a spectacular catch while tumbling over the railing of the Padres' dugout. It wasn't at all relevant to the outcome, but there were two huge roars from the crowd -- one when he fell, and an even louder one when it became clear he'd held onto the ball. Sanchez made a ton of fans today.) For good measure, though, the Pirates added three more runs in the seventh. Anthony Bass loaded the bases, and Tabata brought two runs home on a ground ball to third base. Then Walker brought another run home with a single. Alvarez brought home a run in the eighth after Justin Morneau led off the inning with a double and moved up on Marlon Byrd's single.
The win was the Pirates' 88th of the season. They moved within 1.5 games of the Cardinals, who are currently tied 4-4 with the Rockies.
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If anyone is curious, several Bucs Dugout writers are quoted in a long article on the New Yorker's website today.