Blanco's sac fly helps Pads edge Pirates

BY foxsports • September 19, 2009

Will Venable was a little worried before Neil Walker's drive settled into his glove in right.

Henry Blanco hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning and Venable hauled in Walker's fly ball on the warning track for the final out, finishing off the San Diego Padres' 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.

"I was a little scared for a second, but it hung up there for us," Venable said. "However you can do it to be able to get the W is huge."

In a game between two teams a combined 49 games under .500, two of the runs were scored without the benefit of a hit. The winner came when Chase Headley reached on an error by second baseman Brian Bixler and Phil Dumatrait (0-2) walked the next two batters before Blanco's fly to deep center off Denny Bautista.

"It was one of those days we couldn't get really get the big hit, we couldn't score runs," Headley said. "Sometimes you have to win ugly. You try to put the ball in play, and good things happen sometimes. Fortunately, it got away from them a little and we were able to capitalize on it."

Luke Gregerson (2-3) got three outs to extend his scoreless streak to 17 innings and Heath Bell worked the ninth for his 38th save in 43 opportunities. Pinch-hitter Brandon Moss singled off Bell with two out, but Walker's drive came up just short.

Ross Ohlendorf pitched seven solid innings for the last-place Pirates, who have lost 18 of 21. The right-hander, who allowed one run and five hits, is 0-2 with a 2.94 ERA in his last five starts.

The Pirates have hinted this was Ohlendorf's final start of the season. He is 11-10 with a 3.92 ERA playing for a team that's on pace to lose 100 games.

"I wouldn't say he's been a pleasant surprise but it's been fun watching him and we're real excited to have him in a Pirates uniform for a long time," Pirates manager John Russell said.

Clayton Richard also had a strong start for the Padres, yielding one run and four hits in six innings.

"Those are the types of games as a pitcher you like to pitch in, knowing you can help give your team a chance," said Richard, who is 4-2 with a 4.76 ERA since being acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the Jake Peavy trade. "Henry really played great behind the plate. He made a great play on a bunt, called pitches really well, handled pitches very well and then he came through in the ninth with the bat."

Pittsburgh went in front in the first, taking advantage of two walks and third baseman Headley's error. Ronny Cedeno scored when Ryan Doumit grounded into a fielder's choice.

The Padres tied it in the third. Tony Gwynn led off with a double, advanced on Richard's sacrifice and scored on Everth Cabrera's double.

"Other than that, I was happy with my outing," Ohlendorf said. "I threw a lot of changeups, which is a pitch that I feel like I probably need to work on, and for the most part was happy with how I threw it today, and I felt like I was able to locate the fastball on both sides well."


Ohlendorf missed out on a chance to become only the second pitcher to win nine games in one season at PNC Park. ... The win was the 3,000th in Padres history.

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