The San Diego Padres were thrilled to add Ryan Ludwick’s(notes) bat at the trading deadline. They’ll be even happier if he continues hitting like he did in their opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ludwick’s two-homer game snapped his early slump with the Padres, and he’ll look to stay hot Wednesday night at Petco Park while leading San Diego to an eighth straight victory over the NL-worst Pirates.
The outfielder had 253 RBIs in 368 games with St. Louis from the beginning of 2008 until he was dealt, but Ludwick only had two in his first eight contests with San Diego while hitting .179. He doubled that RBI total Tuesday night, though, hitting a pair of solo homers as the Padres beat Pittsburgh 4-1.
“You come over and definitely don’t want to mess anything up,” said Ludwick, who hadn’t homered since June 14. “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.”
Perhaps seeing the Pirates (39-73) was all the spark Ludwick needed. He’s hitting .347 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in his last 26 games against his former NL Central rivals.
His new club certainly won’t be eager to see Pittsburgh leave Thursday. San Diego has won seven straight over the Pirates for the first time since 1996, outscoring them 41-16.
Kevin Correia(notes) (8-7, 4.81 ERA) tries to continue that dominance while building upon four sturdy outings since the All-Star break. Correia improved to 3-1 with a 3.04 ERA in that stretch after holding the Los Angeles Dodgers to four hits over 5 2-3 innings Thursday in a 5-0 victory.
It was the second time in three starts he’s failed to record a strikeout, but he’s won both times.
“I didn’t really have a good strikeout pitch - an off-speed pitch. But I was locating well enough and my slider was better than it’s been,” Correia said.
The first of those zero-strikeout starts came July 23 in Pittsburgh, where he allowed three runs over six innings in a 5-3 win. Correia is 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA in four career starts against the Pirates.
Pittsburgh counters with newly acquired James McDonald(notes) (1-1, 4.61), who was excellent in his Pirates debut Thursday against Colorado. The right-hander, who came over from the Dodgers on July 31, struck out eight - matching Pittsburgh’s individual season high - over six scoreless innings in a 5-1 win.
“Pretty good, wasn’t it?” manager John Russell said. “… It was dominating. His fastball was very lively at a good angle, his changeup was really good. … With the curveball, he kept them off-balance the whole game. It was very good to see, obviously.”
McDonald has no record and a 7.71 ERA in four appearances versus San Diego. The one start - April 30, 2009 - didn’t go well. The right-hander gave up two hits, four walks and three runs while lasting just 1 2-3 innings.