On a day when starting pitcher Jameson Taillon scuffled mightily, Colin Moran hit his second grand slam of the season and eighth homer overall, and Cory Dickerson and Elias Diaz chipped in with solo shots as the long ball accounted for six of the Pirates seven runs in a 7-5 victory at Petco Park.
Dickerson started the scoring with his shot in the second which landed on top of the scoreboard, in front of the fans in the right field stands. It was his sixth of the year but only his first in the last seven weeks.
The Padres quickly bounced back with a pair of runs off Taillon in the bottom of the inning. With one out he walked both Carlos Asuaje and Freddy Galvis before A.J. Ellis grounded a single into left for the first run and pitcher Tyson Ross hit a sacrifice fly to deep right center for the second. San Diego extended their lead to 3-1 in the third when Wil Myers led off with a walk and one out later raced home on a double to left by Hunter Renfroe.
The Pirates cut their deficit to one in the top of the fourth when Dickerson, who had reached on a force after Moran’s singled to left, sole second and then came home on Diaz’ double lined into the left field corner.
The Pirates’ fifth started off well enough for the Padres’ pitcher Ross, but Austin Meadows started the two-out lightning with a double down the left field line. After Josh Bell walked, Josh Harrison beat out a slow roller just far enough towards third that the catcher had no throw, loading the bases. Moran and lifted a 1-0 pitch into the seats in right for four runs, putting the Pirates up 6-3.
It didn’t seem like enough as the game plodded on. Taillon was lifted after 88 pitches through only 4 2⁄3 innings as he allowed a homer and two singles in the fifth, cutting the lead to 6-4.
The red hot Diaz lined a homer to left to lead off the sixth to put the Pirates up 7-4, but the bullpen seemed determined to give the game away. You knew it was bad when Richard Rodriguez walked the first batter he faced (only his second unintentional free pass of the year), but after two singles the Pirates lead was down to 7-5 and Steven Brault was called in out of the pen. After a walk and an out, Brault was gone with the bases loaded as Kyle Crick entered to face the right-handed pinch-hitter Christian Villanueva who leads the padres in homers - and who proceeded to strike out swinging to end the inning.
Crick walked a pair of batters in the seventh, but escaped without allowing a run. Tyler Glasnow, grabbing a seat in the circle of trust, threw a tidy 1-2-3 eighth, capped with a strikeout of Renfroe, just a day after chipping in two scoreless innings.
And then it was again the Good Felipe in the ninth, touching 100 mph and showing good command of his off-speed pitches as two of the three batters he faced waved helplessly at strike three.
The win gives the Pirates two straight series where they won two of three, pushing their record to 40-43, 8.0 games behind the front-running Brewers and 5.0 out of the second Wild Card spot. They’ll travel up the coast to Los Angeles for a 10:10 games Monday night with the Dodgers. Nick Kingham (2-3, 3.82) returns yet again, taking the spot of the injured Chad Kuhl, to face lefty Alex Wood (4-5, 4.00)