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Ludwick displays power in San Diego to lead Padres past Pirates

CBSSports.com wire reports

SAN DIEGO -- Ryan Ludwick admitted to manager Bud Black a few days ago that he has been pressing.

Black had a one-word answer: "Relax."

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Taking his manager's advice, Ludwick hit his first two home runs with San Diego, reaching 100 for his career and leading the Padres to a 4-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

"That's human nature, to come to a new club and want to do well," Black said about Ludwick, acquired from St. Louis in a three-team trade on July 31. "You just try a little too hard, no matter who you are. He'll be fine.

"Hopefully this will help ease him into a new environment. We're excited to have him," Black said.

"You come over and definitely don't want to mess anything up," Ludwick said. "They've got something going really special over here. I just want to help out. I think at times it's human nature, you kind of try to do a little too much at times. I'm just glad tonight it clicked a little bit."

Ludwick hit a line shot to left on Jeff Karstens' first pitch of the second, then hit a towering fly ball to straightaway center on an 0-1 pitch off Wil Ledezma leading off the seventh for a 3-1 lead. Ludwick has 13 home runs this season.

"It's kind of comforting knowing that I can hit a ball out of this ballpark," Ludwick said with a laugh, referring to the spacious outfield at Petco Park that has frustrated other Padres sluggers.

San Diego's Wade LeBlanc tied his career high with eight strikeouts to win for only the second time in six starts. Karstens, making his first start in his hometown, lost his sixth consecutive decision.

"First pitch to Ludwick, I was just trying to throw a strike," Karstens said. "He didn't hit it hard but you hit it like that in this ballpark and it's still a home run."

"As long as he's hitting home runs, I don't care who's pitching," LeBlanc said. "If he's hitting home runs, that means we're scoring runs. It's awesome having somebody with that kind of sock that can hit behind Gonzo and take a little pressure off Adrian," he said, referring to slugger Adrian Gonzalez.

The NL West-leading Padres (65-46) have the best record in the NL while the Pirates (39-73) have the worst.

LeBlanc got his first career RBI with a two-out single to left-center in the second that brought in Yorvit Torrealba, who walked and advanced on Chris Denorfia's slow roller for an infield single. Denorfia was thrown out trying to take third on LeBlanc's single.

Pittsburgh's Jose Tabata reached with two outs in the third when his grounder glanced off second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr.'s glove. It was ruled a hit. Neil Walker followed with a walk and Pedro Alvarez singled in Tabata.

Hairston had an RBI infield single in the eighth.

LeBlanc (6-10) allowed one run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings, with two walks. Karstens (2-8) allowed two runs and three hits in six innings, struck out three and walked one.

Heath Bell pitched the ninth for his 32nd save in 35 chances.

"He threw a good game," Pittsburgh manager John Russell said of Karstens. "He kept us in it. He was pretty efficient. He did what we needed him to do. We just didn't get much offense. Guys were trying to do something big but were getting away from themselves a little bit."

Karstens, who grew up in suburban Spring Valley, said he had more than 200 family members and friends at the game.


  • Padres RHP Chris Young said he felt good after throwing 40 pitches in a bullpen session as he continues to work his way back from a strained shoulder that has forced him to miss all but one start this season. Young's next bullpen session is scheduled for Friday in San Francisco before the Padres open a three-game series against the Giants, their closest pursuers in the division. Young went on the disabled list on April 12, a move that was retroactive to April 7. He had arthroscopic surgery last August.
  • LeBlanc has struck out eight batters three times, most recently on June 29 against Colorado.
  • LeBlanc is 12 for 37 (.324) this season.
  • Ludwick had his 11th career multihomer game; all have been two-homer games. His most recent was June 7 at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Miguel Tejada went 0 for 4 to drop to 8 for 41 (.195) with three RBI in 10 games with the Padres.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Ryan Ludwick gets a hug from Adrian Gonzalez after the new Padre hits his second homer of the night.  (AP)
Ryan Ludwick gets a hug from Adrian Gonzalez after the new Padre hits his second homer of the night. (AP)

Players of the Game
San Diego

R. Ludwick
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 2
San Diego

W. LeBlanc
IP 5.2
H 5
ER 1
BB 2
K 8

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Andrew McCutchen, CF4000001 .283
Jose Tabata, LF4120010 .310
Neil Walker, 2B3000131 .300
Pedro Alvarez, 3B3011110 .241
Lastings Milledge, RF4010022 .273
Andy LaRoche, 1B4010011 .223
Chris Snyder, C2000212 .229
    Argenis Diaz, PR0000000 .333
Ronny Cedeno, SS4010015 .248
Jeff Karstens, P2000011 .071
   a- Delwyn Young, PH1010000 .260
    Wil Ledezma, P0000000 .000
    Chris Resop, P0000000 .000
   b- Garrett Jones, PH1000001 .263
a-singled for Karstens in the 7th
b-lined out for Resop in the 9th
2B - Andy LaRoche (8, LeBlanc), Ronny Cedeno (20, LeBlanc)
RBI - Pedro Alvarez (31)
2-OUT RBI - Pedro Alvarez (13)
SB - Jose Tabata (12, 2nd base off Gregerson/Torrealba)
Team LOB - 8
Outfield Assists - Andrew McCutchen 1
Pittsburgh Pirates
Jeff Karstens (L,2-8) 6322131 4.39
Wil Ledezma 1111031 12.79
Chris Resop 1211000 9.53
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Karstens 85-56, Wil Ledezma 21-15, Chris Resop 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Karstens 5-9, Chris Resop 2-1
Batters Faced - Jeff Karstens 21, Wil Ledezma 4, Chris Resop 5
San Diego Padres
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B4011000 .255
Miguel Tejada, SS4000001 .265
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B4000011 .290
Ryan Ludwick, RF3222000 .276
Chase Headley, 3B3000020 .275
Yorvit Torrealba, C2100120 .314
Will Venable, LF3000011 .229
Chris Denorfia, CF3120000 .273
    Heath Bell, P0000000 .000
Wade LeBlanc, P2011000 .324
    Luke Gregerson, P0000000 .000
    Mike Adams, P0000000 .000
   a- Tony Gwynn Jr., PH-CF0000000 .212
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Adams in the 8th
2B - Chris Denorfia (7, Resop)
HR - Ryan Ludwick 2 (13, Karstens, Ledezma)
SH - Tony Gwynn Jr. (6)
RBI - Jerry Hairston Jr. (46), Ryan Ludwick 2 (47), Wade LeBlanc (1)
2-OUT RBI - Wade LeBlanc (1)
Team LOB - 2
DP - Headley-Hairston-Gonzalez, Hairston-Gonzalez
San Diego Padres
Wade LeBlanc (W,6-10) 5.2511280 3.51
Luke Gregerson (H,27) 1.1200110 2.48
Mike Adams (H,23) 1000020 2.08
Heath Bell (S,32) 1000100 1.89
Pitches-Strikes - Wade LeBlanc 106-66, Luke Gregerson 26-15, Mike Adams 9-7, Heath Bell 12-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wade LeBlanc 3-6, Luke Gregerson 2-0, Mike Adams 1-0, Heath Bell 1-1
Batters Faced - Wade LeBlanc 24, Luke Gregerson 6, Mike Adams 3, Heath Bell 3
Game Information
Attendance - 23249
Game Time - 2:34
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Dan Bellino, Second Base - Victor Carapazza, Third Base - Rob Drake