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San Diego (71-80) «000100002360
Pittsburgh (87-65)000000200230

Padres rally in ninth, upend Pirates third consecutive time

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- The San Diego Padres are nowhere near a pennant race. Not by a long shot.

Too bad. They have apparently gotten the hang of playoff baseball.

Logan Forsythe and Rene Rivera delivered back-to-back RBI singles in the ninth inning off Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon and the Padres rallied for a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night for their third consecutive victory.

"What a game," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "Pitch to pitch, every pitch counted. Just a great, great game."

Forsythe's single to right scored pinch-runner Andrew Cashner to tie the game and Rivera's blooper brought home Chris Denorfia as the Padres dealt Pittsburgh's NL Central title hopes another blow as the Pirates fell two games behind first-place St. Louis, which beat Colorado 4-3.

Dale Thayer (3-5) picked up the victory in relief. Huston Street pitched a perfect ninth for his 33rd save as San Diego improved to 31-10 at PNC Park since it opened in 2001.

"There is no rhythm or reason to it," Black said. "If we knew why, we would try to bottle it and take it with us wherever we go. I wish I could try to explain it."

The Pirates would certainly like one.

Melancon (2-2), who inherited the closer's role when All-Star Jason Grilli went out with a forearm injury in July, blew his third save of the season.

"Just got to tip your hat, they put the ball in play and found some holes," Melancon said. "They did a good job. Sometimes it happens that way."

Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give the Pirates the lead but Pittsburgh fell to 74-3 when leading after eight when Melancon faltered.

Melancon has been nearly automatic since taking over for Grilli before running into trouble in the ninth.

Jedd Gyorko led off with a single before Melancon settled down to retire the next two batters. Denorfia singled to put runners on the corners and Forsythe and Rivera followed with well-placed, if not exactly well-struck, hits to right field as San Diego improved to 11-4 in its past 15 games.

"It was something special," Rivera said. "We battled all game and we came through."

The rally spoiled McCutchen's latest heroics. Pittsburgh was handcuffed by San Diego starter Tyson Ross for 6 1/3 innings when Neil Walker reached on a wild pitch with one out in the seventh. McCutchen followed by turning on a 3-0 fastball, sending it into the seats in right-center for his 20th home run of the season.

The Pirates lit up Ross for five runs in 6 1/3 innings in San Diego a month ago but came in having scored only two runs in the first two games of the series, losses that dropped Pittsburgh behind the Cardinals as they pursue their first division title in 21 years.

Justin Morneau singled leading off the second before being erased on a double play. Ross spent the next 90 minutes toying with the Pirates. Pittsburgh only managed to get three balls to the outfield through six innings.

Ross retired Starling Marte to start the seventh and Walker swung and missed at strike three. The ball skittered away from Rivera and rolled to the backstop, allowing Walker to reach. Ross threw wide on three consecutive pitches to McCutchen, and the National League MVP candidate mashed a fastball over the heart of the plate well over the wall.

It was the only mistake on an otherwise brilliant night by Ross, who allowed two runs on three hits with seven strikeouts.

"Tyson pitched a great game and he certainly didn't deserve to lose," Black said. "He was more efficient in the strike zone, he was aggressive in the strike zone, he was throwing more strikes and he got in better counts. When you do those things and you have good stuff then you have games like this."

Tyson got a good look as McCutchen trotted around the bases then came out for a curtain call as the suddenly energized crowd of over 27,000 roared. He managed to get through the seventh without further damage, ending a duel with Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton.

Mixing his sinker with an improved curveball in his comeback from Tommy John surgery last year, Morton tied a career-high with nine strikeouts, allowing only one run and two hits.

It wasn't quite enough as Pittsburgh's playoff push hit another roadblock.

Notes

Pittsburgh sat C Russell Martin on Wednesday and will do so again on Thursday. Manager Clint Hurdle said he wants Martin to be well rested when the Pirates open a pivotal three-game series with Cincinnati on Friday. ... The series wraps up Thursday. Gerrit Cole (8-7, 3.33 ERA) starts for the Pirates against Ian Kennedy (6-9, 4.85).

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner, in the game as a pinch-runner, slides past John Buck to score the tying run in the ninth inning. (USATSI)
Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner, in the game as a pinch-runner, slides past John Buck to score the tying run in the ninth inning. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

A. McCutchen
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
San Diego

T. Ross
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 2
BB 0
K 7
 
San Diego Padres
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Will Venable, RF-CF4000011 .270
Ronny Cedeno, SS4000020 .259
Jedd Gyorko, 2B2110210 .249
   Andrew Cashner, PR0100000 .250
   Huston Street, P0000000 .000
Chase Headley, 3B3010102 .246
Tommy Medica, 1B4001012 .267
Jesus Guzman, LF3000021 .229
   Alexi Amarista, LF0000000 .251
   a-Chris Denorfia, PH-LF1110000 .269
Reymond Fuentes, CF3010020 .174
   b-Logan Forsythe, PH-2B1011000 .220
Rene Rivera, C4011000 .217
Tyson Ross, P2000011 .179
   c-Mark Kotsay, PH1000000 .193
   Colt Hynes, P0000000 .000
   Dale Thayer, P0000000 .000
   d-Kyle Blanks, PH-RF1000002 .252
Totals33363310  
a-singled for Amarista in the 9th
b-singled for Fuentes in the 9th
c-grounded out for Ross in the 8th
d-grounded out for Thayer in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Tommy Medica (5), Logan Forsythe (18), Rene Rivera (6)
2-OUT RBI - Logan Forsythe (7), Rene Rivera (3)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Ross-Gyorko-Medica
San Diego Padres
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tyson Ross 7322071 3.24
Colt Hynes 0.1000010 9.19
Dale Thayer (W,3-5) 0.2000000 3.38
Huston Street (S,31) 1000000 2.56
WP - Tyson Ross (6)
HBP - A. McCutchen (by Tyson Ross)
Pitches-Strikes - Tyson Ross 90-59, Colt Hynes 7-5, Dale Thayer 9-6, Huston Street 13-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tyson Ross 8-4, Dale Thayer 2-0
Batters Faced - Tyson Ross 23, Colt Hynes 1, Dale Thayer 2, Huston Street 3
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starling Marte, LF4000020 .280
Neil Walker, 2B4100010 .245
Andrew McCutchen, CF2112000 .327
Justin Morneau, 1B3020000 .260
   Felix Pie, PR0000000 .174
   Gaby Sanchez, 1B0000000 .256
Marlon Byrd, RF3000001 .287
Pedro Alvarez, 3B3000020 .226
John Buck, C3000010 .220
Clint Barmes, SS3000010 .217
Charlie Morton, P2000010 .129
   Mark Melancon, P0000000 .000
   a-Garrett Jones, PH1000000 .235
Totals2823208  
a-popped out for Melancon in the 9th
Batting
HR - Andrew McCutchen (20, Ross)
RBI - Andrew McCutchen 2 (81)
CS - Andrew McCutchen (10, 2nd base by Ross/Rivera), Felix Pie (2, 2nd base by Ross/Rivera)
Team LOB - 0
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Charlie Morton 8211390 3.35
Mark Melancon (L,2-2; BS,3) 1422010 1.32
Pitches-Strikes - Charlie Morton 99-65, Mark Melancon 19-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Charlie Morton 11-4, Mark Melancon 1-1
Batters Faced - Charlie Morton 29, Mark Melancon 7
Game Information
Attendance - 27640
Game Time - 2:33
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Dan Bellino, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Mike Everitt