Pirates 8, Padres 1

Until Tuesday night, the only time A.J. Burnett had beaten the

San Diego Padres was on May 12, 2001, when he threw a no-hitter

against them while with the Marlins.

”Was that the only time? There you go. You walk nine, you beat

them every time,” Burnett joked Tuesday night.

Twelve years after that erratic gem, Burnett pitched seven

strong innings against the Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates had

six extra-base hits, including Neil Walker’s home run, to beat San

Diego 8-1 Tuesday night.

”I had guys diving left and right behind me today and they were

swinging the bat,” said Burnett, who is now 2-5 against San Diego.

”It’s just fun to see everybody in this room contribute to what’s

going on right now. I’m glad I was part of it tonight.”

Burnett (6-8) held San Diego to one run and four hits, struck

out seven and walked one. He bounced back from two starts in which

he allowed 10 earned runs and 16 hits in 10 innings.

The Pirates opened a two-game lead in the NL Central over St.

Louis, which lost 6-3 at Milwaukee.

The Padres loaded the bases with two outs in the third before

Burnett struck out Yonder Alonso.

”His sixth inning was as good as any he had all night, pitching

to the middle of the lineup,” manager Clint Hurdle said. ”So we

decided when he came in 3-1, he was going back out. He had pitches

to work with. He was able to reboot tonight. He used all his

pitches. Very good outing for him.”

Burnett was backed by some nice defense. Left fielder Jose

Tabata made a diving catch of Alexi Amarista’s sinking liner in the

first. Third baseman Pedro Alvarez made a diving stop of Nick

Hundley’s grounder in the second and Walker, the second baseman,

made a diving stop of Jaff Decker’s grounder in the third.

Walker homered into the sandy play area beyond the fence in

right-center on a 3-1 pitch from Tyson Ross with one out in the

first. It was his eighth. Alvarez reached on second baseman Jedd

Gyorko’s throwing error and Russell Martin followed with an RBI

double to right.

Alvarez tripled in the third to bring in Walker, who was hit by

a pitch leading off the inning.

Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run triple in the seventh. His fly

ball landed just in front of diving center fielder Alexi Amarista

and rolled into the gap in right-center. After Alvarez and Russell

Martin walked, pinch-hitter Josh Harrison tripled to right-center

to clear the bases and cap the five-run inning.

”All our hits were to the big part of the field,” Hurdle said.

”Couple balls were pulled to the gap. Everything else, big part of

the field, opposite. That was big for us tonight. Something we’ve

been talking about, something we’ve been working on. We were able

to put it in play tonight.”

The Padres have lost 10 of 14 and tied their season high by

dropping 17 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles

Dodgers.

Gyorko homered to left on a 1-2 pitch from Burnett leading off

the fourth, his 14th.

”I was able to get to him the one time but he did a good job of

mixing his pitches,” Gyorko said. ”Sometimes you don’t always get

the read you want to on the ball.”

Ross (3-6) allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits in 6 1-3

innings, struck out six and walked two.

”It was a tough game. It was a bit of a struggle executing

pitches early,” Ross said. ”But I did my best to keep the team in

it. But Burnett did a good job.”

NOTES: The Pirates hit three triples for the third time this

season. … The series concludes Wednesday afternoon when Pirates

RHP Gerrit Cole (6-5, 3.88 ERA) is scheduled to face RHP Ian

Kennedy (4-9, 5.12 ERA). …. Pirates closer Jason Grilli, on the

disabled list since July 23 with a strained right forearm, is

improving, although there is no timetable for his return. ”Jason

is moving forward at a very good fashion,” manager Clint Hurdle

said. … OF Starling Marte didn’t start for the second straight

game because of a bruise on his right hand. He was stepped on

during a head-first slide against the Arizona Diamondbacks. … LHP

Wandy Rodriguez will throw live batting practice Thursday before

the Pirates begin a four-game series in San Francisco. Rodriguez

said he continued to feel discomfort in his left arm after a

bullpen session Monday. He went on the disabled list June 11

(retroactive to June 6) with left forearm tightness.