Pirates erupt against Kennedy, top Padres 10-1 - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Pirates erupt against Kennedy, top Padres 10-1

Posted: Updated:

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pirates had a plan for Gerrit Cole when they drafted the hard-throwing right-hander with the top pick in the 2011 amateur draft.

They hoped Cole would develop into 1 of the franchise cornerstones, and two years later he may already be there.

The 23-year-old dominated the San Diego Padres on Thursday, striking out 12 to lead the Pirates to a 10-1 romp and stop a 3-game losing streak. Pittsburgh moved a game in front of Cincinnati for the top wild card spot in the NL after Cole (9-7) pitched his third straight gem.

"He continues to grow right in front of our eyes," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Cole is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 28 strikeouts in his last three starts, each following a Pittsburgh loss. Overwhelming the Padres with a fastball topping out in the high 90s and a curveball seeming to improve by the pitch, Cole prevented a sweep that would have put a dent in his team's pursuit of its first division title since 1992.

"We just couldn't get to the fastball," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "I think we knew it was coming but he located some pitches, threw down and away well. He pitched in. He pitched up (and) mixed it up a little bit with the slider and the changeup."

And for once, Cole received some help at the plate.

Held to four runs and 11 hits in the first three games of the series, the Pirates pounced on starter Ian Kennedy (6-10) for six runs while putting together their biggest offensive outburst in nearly a month.

Neil Walker had four hits, including his 11th homer of the season, and drove in three runs while Pedro Alvarez hit his NL-leading 34th homer for Pittsburgh. Jose Tabata added two hits and three RBIs as the Pirates regained some momentum heading into the biggest series in the 12-year history of PNC Park.

"If you would have told us we were going to win 1 of 4 in this last series, I'll take the last one, that's for sure," Walker said. "It's certainly not the best feeling. This wasn't our best series playing a team people probably think we should beat, but that's baseball."

And meaningful baseball at that, something not seen in September in Pittsburgh since Barry Bonds was hitting balls over the fence at Three Rivers Stadium in 1992. The Pirates ended 20 years of losing earlier this month and have their sights set on a playoff spot.

Pittsburgh inched closer to extending its season beyond Sept. 29 by showcasing the resiliency that's become the team's trademark. The Pirates were in position to beat San Diego on Wednesday night when closer Mark Melancon surrendered two runs in the ninth to blow his third save of the season.

Given 12 hours to get over it, they responded emphatically.

Cole's main weakness may be that he gets too fired up. His ERA in the first inning rose to 6.00 when Tommy Medica's two-out RBI single gave the Padres an early lead. It was the lone hiccup on a day he bolstered his case to earn a start in October if the Pirates make it that far.

Pittsburgh can get there if it can find any sort of consistency at the plate. After gasping for three days, they rediscovered some pop against a team at the end of a wearying 10-game road trip.

Making a spot start while leadoff hitter Starling Marte spent the day in the hospital helping his wife welcome their first child, Tabata scored on a fielder's-choice grounder by Andrew McCutchen to tie it in the first. Three innings later, Alvarez crushed a belt-high Kennedy pitch and sent it nearly to the concourse behind the seats in center for just his second home run in 22 games.

The homer sent a jolt through Pittsburgh's dugout. Tabata hit a two-run double with two outs, and Walker followed with a shot to right that climbed just over the top of the Clemente Wall for a 6-1 lead.

Cole worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the fifth and completed his career day by striking out Nick Hundley swinging. The burly right-hander pumped his first in celebration as he walked off the mound. The Pirates hadn't won a game by more than two runs since knocking off Milwaukee 5-2 on Sept. 2.

NOTES: Hurdle said he hasn't set a rotation for the final week of the season. If the Pirates don't make any changes, ace Francisco Liriano would be available to pitch the opening game of the postseason. Liriano (16-7, 2.29 ERA) will start Friday night against Cincinnati's Mat Latos (14-6, 3.14) ... Pittsburgh C Tony Sanchez had 2 of his team's 14 hits and made an acrobatic grab in the eighth when he hauled in a foul pop by Chris Denorfia, flipping into the Padres' dugout in the process ... San Diego begins a 3-game series at home on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Robbie Erlin (2-3, 5.18 ERA) will face Edinson Volquez (9-11, 5.94).

Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Sports HeadlinesMore>>

  • Ryu, Dodgers end Pirates' home win streak, 5-2

    Ryu, Dodgers end Pirates' home win streak, 5-2

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.More >>
    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    More >>
  • AP Source: NFL stadium sites explored in Toronto

    AP Source: NFL stadium sites explored in Toronto

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:23 PM EDT2014-07-25 03:23:56 GMT
    A person close to the situation says a Buffalo Bills prospective ownership group that includes rocker Jon Bon Jovi has conducted a feasibility study into buying the NFL franchise and building a stadium in Toronto.More >>
    A Buffalo Bills prospective ownership group that includes rocker Jon Bon Jovi has conducted a feasibility study into buying the NFL franchise and building a stadium in Toronto, a person close to the situation said.More >>
  • Cavaliers sign rookie Andrew Wiggins

    Cavaliers sign rookie Andrew Wiggins

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:54 PM EDT2014-07-25 01:54:27 GMT
    The Cavaliers have signed No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, a contract that prevents him from being traded for 30 days.More >>
    The Cavaliers have signed No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, a contract that prevents him from being traded for 30 days.
    More >>
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • 6 hurt when truck hits Daily Queen near Pittsburgh

    6 hurt when truck hits Daily Queen near Pittsburgh

    PITTSBURGH (AP) - Authorities say six people were injured and a gas line was damaged after a truck crashed into a Dairy Queen in suburban Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said the incident occurred shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday in Penn Hills. A witness tells the newspaper that she was able to help an employee get out through a window after a cash register fell onto her. That employee, the manager and four men in the truck were taken to hospitals. The newspaper says firefighters secur...More >>
    PITTSBURGH (AP) - Authorities say six people were injured and a gas line was damaged after a truck crashed into a Dairy Queen in suburban Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said the incident occurred shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday in Penn Hills. A witness tells the newspaper that she was able to help an employee get out through a window after a cash register fell onto her. That employee, the manager and four men in the truck were taken to hospitals. The newspaper says firefighters secur...More >>
  • UPDATED

    Ohio State marching band director fired

    Ohio State marching band director fired

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:49 PM EDT2014-07-25 00:49:54 GMT
    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues," some involving rituals where students were pressured to march in their underwear or participate in sexually themed stunts.More >>
    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues," some involving rituals where students were pressured to march in their underwear or participate in sexually themed stunts.More >>
  • Witness: Teen's plane didn't show obvious distress

    Witness: Teen's plane didn't show obvious distress

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 23:38:16 GMT
    The family of an Indiana teenager who crashed in the Pacific Ocean during an around-the-world flight says he knew the risks and had prepared for them.More >>
    A man who saw a plane flown by an Indiana teen who was killed during an around-the-world flight attempt says the aircraft was flying low but didn't show any obvious signs of distress before diving into the ocean off...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms