The Pittsburgh Pirates arrived in San Diego a bit exhausted and
originally uncertain about who their starting pitcher would be in
the series opener against a Padres team that has historically given
Despite these seemingly glaring disadvantages, they’re in high
After outlasting a team right on their heels in the wild-card
race to win the majors’ longest game of the year, the Pirates hope
to ride the momentum into Monday night’s opener with the Padres,
who are going for their 16th victory in the last 19 meetings in the
In a season filled with encouraging victories for a Pirates
franchise seeking its first playoff berth since 1992, Sunday’s 6-3,
19-inning win over St. Louis might have been its biggest. Pedro
Alvarez homered in the 19th and two more runs came around on an
Andrew McCutchen single for the Pirates (67-54), who took two of
three from the Cardinals to move two games ahead of their division
rival in the race for the league’s last wild-card spot.
“It was a battle all around on both sides,” McCutchen said.
“They came to play and we were just able to get the win.
“It feels good.”
Wandy Rodriguez, the eighth pitcher used by the Pirates, threw
two scoreless innings to earn the win. A problem with that,
however, is he was scheduled to start Monday.
Manager Clint Hurdle had not selected a starter to replace him
until deciding Monday to use former Padres right-hander Kevin
Correia (9-7, 4.56 ERA). Correia threw 24 pitches over two
scoreless innings out of the bullpen Sunday, and will become the
first Pirate to appear in relief and start the next day since
Pascual Perez in 1981.
Hurdle is also hoping to come up with a way to beat the Padres
(53-70), something the Pirates have struggled with mightily over
the past few seasons.
Pittsburgh won for only the third time in 18 meetings with an
11-5 victory over San Diego last Sunday at PNC Park to snap a
five-game losing streak in the series.
Clint Barmes homered and drove in four runs in the last game,
while McCutchen, Neil Walker and Michael McKenry each had two RBIs.
McCutchen finished with two hits after going 5 for 41 (.122) with
two RBIs in his previous 12 games in the series.
Although McCutchen and the Pirates haven’t enjoyed much success
lately against San Diego, they could have better luck facing
Edinson Volquez (7-9, 4.31) again.
Volquez has a 13.83 ERA in his last four starts – causing his
ERA to jump from 3.30 – and hasn’t made it out of the fourth inning
in any of his three games this month.
“It’s kind of frustrating because I’m used to going deep in
games,” the right-hander said after being tagged for six runs and
seven hits in 3 2-3 innings of a 6-1 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.
“Now the last three starts have been kind of short. We’ll see what
happens the next game.”
He didn’t fare too well against the Pirates on Aug. 10, though,
yielding six runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings, but the Padres
rallied for a 9-8 win. McCutchen was 0 for 2 against Volquez, while
Travis Snider had a three-run homer and Garrett Jones had a solo
Unlike McCutchen, Chase Headley has put up gaudy numbers in this
series, and he’s likely eager for it to begin after being ejected
following a fly out in the fourth inning of Sunday’s 7-1 win over
San Francisco, snapping the Padres’ five-game skid.
Headley, August’s major league leader with 24 RBIs and the NL
leader with eight home runs, had three homers in Pittsburgh last
week, and is batting .345 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in his
last eight games in the series.