Despaigne leads Padres to 7-1 win over Pirates
Despaigne limited the Pittsburgh Pirates to one run in a career-high eight innings to lead the Padres to a 7-1 win Sunday night.
Despaigne (3-3) held the Pirates scoreless through six innings before Gregory Polanco hit a solo homer off him in the seventh. Pittsburgh had won eight of nine games.
The right-hander allowed seven hits, struck out four and walked one. Despaigne has allowed just three runs over 20 innings in his last three starts.
Will Middlebrooks homered and drove in three runs as San Diego jumped out to a 6-0 lead through three innings.
"Overall, my stuff was good, I was hitting my spots, my command was good," Despaigne said. "I think I was able to hit the corners."
San Diego manager Bud Black said he and pitching coach Darren Balsley have emphasized to Despaigne to get back to basics.
The Cuban right-hander has used a variety of arm angles and pitching looks since making his major-league debut last season.
"He has gotten back to being the aggressor," Black said. "I think he has gotten back to setting the tone with fastball strike. ... Darren and I have talked to him about being less of a trickster and more of a pitcher."
Middlebrooks homered off Jeff Locke (3-3) in a three-run third inning and added a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Jed Gyorko had a two-run single in the first inning and Clint Barmes had three hits and an RBI.
The Padres have won four of six after losing eight of 10. San Diego also won at home for just the third time in 10 games. After going 48-33 at Petco Park last season, the Padres are just 13-14 at their home park this season.
"I think we're playing pretty good baseball right now," Gyorko said. "The pitchers have been throwing the ball pretty well the last 10 days of so and we're starting to get that timely hitting when we need it. When we put that together, it can be pretty dangerous."
Locke last just four innings, allowing seven runs -- six earned -- on eight hits. He had not allowed a run in 10 2-3 innings over two starts coming in.
"Bottom line is when you fall behind these guys you are forced to make pitches in hitters' count and they get comfortable," Locke said. "The more runs they put up the more comfortable they are and that never plays in your favor."
Matt Kemp led off the Padres' third with a walk and Middlebrooks followed with a fly ball that just cleared the left-field wall for his seventh home run. After Will Venable walked with one out and took second on a wild pitch, Barmes added an RBI single for a 6-0 lead.
A leadoff single and two walks loaded the bases for San Diego with one out in the first. Locke struck out Middlebrooks before Gyorko blooped a two-run single to center.
TOUGH ON LEFTIES
Despaigne has been tough on left-handers, limiting them to a .212 average coming into the game. Polanco's home run was the first he's surrendered to a left-handed batter since Aug. 22, a span of 15 outings.
In Clint Hurdle's five seasons as manager, the Pirates have never had a losing record in May. Despite the loss Sunday night, Pittsburgh finished the month 14-14.
Pirates: Locke took a hard grounder off his right foot in the fourth inning. While home plate umpire Jeff Nelson went out to check on Locke, the lefty waved off Hurdle and stayed in the game.
Padres: RHP Brandon Morrow (right shoulder inflammation) will pitch Tuesday for Double-A San Antonio.
Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole, who has allowed two or fewer earned runs in eight of his 10 starts, gets the starts when Pittsburgh opens a three-game series Monday night at San Francisco.
Padres: RHP Andrew Cashner (3-7), who averages the lowest run support (2.30 runs) of any starting pitcher in the majors, will take the mound Monday night when San Diego hosts the New York Mets in a three-game series.