Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin, right, tags home plate to get the force out on San Diego Padres' Everth Cabrera (2) and throws to first to get Jedd Gyorko to complete a double play during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 8, 2014.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The San Diego Padres scored a run against Pittsburgh’s Vance Worley in the first inning, and the Pirates’ starter noticed they were ready to hit his fastball.
So he threw more cutters.
Worley’s change in plans helped him outduel Ian Kennedy, and Gregory Polanco and Josh Harrison had three hits each as the Pirates beat the Padres 2-1 on Friday night.
"I was just making adjustments," Worley said. "I thought they were sitting more on my fastballs in to lefties and away from righties so I decided to show them a little something different and keep them off-balance."
Worley (5-1) struck out a season-high seven in seven innings and gave up one run, five hits and a walk.
"I think he was able to settle into his rhythm toward the end of the second," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "His cutter played extremely well."
With the usage of his cutter, Worley was able to finish with a flourish by striking out the side in the seventh.
"By the end of my outing I was able to have (the fastball) back again because they were too busy thinking about the other stuff," he said.
Kennedy (8-10) was pulled after six innings and allowed two runs — one earned — and seven hits. He walked three and struck out five.
Tony Watson preserved the one-run lead with a perfect eighth, and Mark Melancon earned his career-high 21st save by striking out the side in the ninth.
San Diego scored in the first on Everth Cabrera’s leadoff double, a sacrifice, and Seth Smith’s sacrifice fly.
Pittsburgh scored twice in the bottom of the inning. Harrison led off with a triple and scored on Polanco’s single. Polanco later scored on Russell Martin’s sacrifice fly.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases with no outs in the third, and San Diego did the same in the sixth.
"We just couldn’t get the big hit," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We had some opportunities but couldn’t drive in the big run. We stressed Worley a couple of times but we couldn’t break through."
The Pirates (62-53) moved a season-high nine games over .500, despite the recent absence of team leaders Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker.
"We’re all here to step up," Worley said. "It’s a team game, and if one guy goes down, it’s up to somebody else to come in and step up."
Padres: Right-hander Andrew Cashner (shoulder) was set to make his first rehab start Friday for Single-A Lake Elsinore. He was placed on the disabled list on June 23 with right shoulder soreness.
Pirates: Center fielder Andrew McCutchen (rib) continues to add to his mobility and resistance exercises, according to Hurdle, and is progressing in a "positive fashion." Hurdle said McCutchen will attempt to take swings. … Right-hander Gerrit Cole (lat) is slated to make a third rehab start on Sunday for Triple-A Indianapolis. He was placed on the disabled list July 9. … Second baseman Neil Walker (back) missed his third straight game. Hurdle said Walker "felt better" after taking batting practice.
Padres: Left-hander Eric Stults (4-13, 4.94 ERA) starts in the middle game of the series. Stults has struggled on the road in 2014, going 0-9 with a 5.78 ERA in 12 starts. He is 4-4 with a 3.98 ERA in 10 home outings.
Pirates: Left-hander Francisco Liriano (3-7, 3.91 ERA) will face San Diego for the fourth time in his career. Liriano looks to continue his strongest stretch of the season in which he is 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA in four starts since he was removed from the disabled list on July 13.
Two Padres will have relatives in the stands during their series at PNC Park, as RHP Jesse Hahn and second baseman Jedd Gyorko both have ties to the Pittsburgh area.
Hahn has family from Beaver County, about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Hahn won’t pitch in the series after he started Tuesday’s loss at Minnesota.
Gyorko attended West Virginia University where the campus is 75 miles due south of Pittsburgh in Gyorko’s hometown, Morgantown, West Virginia.
Melancon’s 21st save is indicative of not just his performance stabilizing the Pirates bullpen this season with the departure of opening day closer Jason Grilli, but his worth since the Pirates acquired him from Boston after he posted a 6.20 ERA for the Red Sox in 2012.
"He’s been very valuable since the day he showed up," Hurdle said. "He is our closer but he has been as prepared as any pitcher I’ve ever had at talking to about what might happen, how you might use him."