Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pirates Series Recap
After another day off on Thursday (and they say August baseball is a grind), the Padres headed to Pittsburgh and beautiful PNC Park, where they have actually never lost a series in 12 road series since the park opened. Just a couple of years ago, Vance Worley was supposed to be the next Philadelphia Phillies ace. Then a few injuries and ineffectiveness really slowed him down, but he has found a groove this year for the Pirates. Friday against the Padres, he pitched 7 innings, struck out 7, only allowed one run, and improved to 5-1 on the season with the Pirates. He was given two runs to work with in the bottom of the first after allowing a run in the top half of the inning, and that would be all he needed from there.
Ian Kennedy continues to be the tough luck loser for the Padres, as he only allowed 1 earned run (2 total) in 6 innings of work, but fell to 8-10 on the year, a record not indicative of how well he has pitched this year. The Padres were limited to 5 hits however, and it is tough to win games when no one is on base to score runs!
Saturday once again all the scoring of the game took place in the first inning. This time however, it was the Padres who were able to get two runs and held the Pirates to just one. Eric Stults pitched into the 7th inning and only allowed one run, getting the victory to improve to 5-13. Everth Cabrera got the Padres moving on the base paths, and doing the little things right enabled the Padres to squeak out a victory against Francisco Liriano.
The bullpen was awesome in this one as well, especially rookie Kevin Quackenbush. He got himself in trouble early, letting the Pirates get runners to second and third with nobody out. Yet, he was hung in there and was able to induce a broken bat line out, a strikeout, and a fly ball to right to end the threat. Certainly if the Padres do end up trading Benoit after this season despite one year left on his contract Quack seems ready to be the closer of the future for the Friars.
Sunday finished things off with Tyson Ross continuing his run of outstanding performances. It got off to a bad start, allowing a home run to the second hitter of the game and the Padres down early 0-2. Yet Seth Smith once again delivered a clutch two-run triple in the 5th inning, then scored on a wild pitch to give the Padres a 5-2 lead. Ross finished by going 6 innings and the bullpen finished things out for another PNC Series victory for the Padres. The offense added on a few more and won the game 8-2. This was another victory for Ross where he showed how not only is his “stuff” maturing, so is he as a pitcher. He allowed a hit and homer to start the game, then buckled down and did not allow another run the rest of his outing. Nicely done. He is now safely within the top 7 for NL ERA leader on the season.