Pirates 6, Padres 3
SAN DIEGO (AP)—Rob Mackowiak helped Pittsburgh win with the kind of play that doesn’t show up in the boxscore.
“It was flat-out hustle,” manager Lloyd McClendon said after the Pirates beat the San Diego Padres 6-3 Sunday to split a four-game series.
The turning point was shortstop Khalil Greene’s two-out throwing error in the fourth inning that led to four unearned runs, and Mackowiak’s smart baserunning was a huge factor.
With runners on first and second, Greene fielded Ty Wigginton’s grounder and intended to go to second, but by the time he started to throw, Mackowiak was almost at the base. Greene double-pumped and threw wide of first, allowing Jason Bay to score from second to break a scoreless tie.
Greene said the ball “took a funny little hop. I tried to smother it. He got to second faster than I thought.”
“Throwing to first, I didn’t have the best grip or get my feet set. I had to rush the throw a little bit,” Greene said. “I hadn’t anticipated even having to go to first.”
With a runner on second, the Padres weren’t holding Mackowiak on first.
“You can get a bigger jump,” he said. “I just ran hard, I guess, like you’re supposed to, and was fortunate enough to get there.”
It was enough to get the Pirates headed toward just their second win in six games.
“That’s what we needed, I guess,” Mackowiak said. “We needed someone to step up. I’m not saying that’s what I was trying to do, but I mean, you play the game the right way, good things happen.”
Catcher Miguel Ojeda had consecutive plays at the plate, but couldn’t hang on to Klesko’s throw from left as Wigginton scored on Ross’ hit, and he didn’t block the plate when Ross scored on Williams’ single.
“I told my club leaving spring training, baserunning will win games for us,” McClendon said. “Today it won a game for us.”
It was the first time the Pirates scored more than three runs in six games this year. Williams won his season debut, and Jose Mesa—the seventh Pittsburgh pitcher—worked the ninth for his second save. With two on, he struck out Phil Nevin and retired Ryan Klesko a fly ball to end it.
Greene has two errors in the first six games. He made several highlight-reel plays last year when he was runner-up to Bay in NL Rookie of the Year voting.
The Pirates added two more runs off two relievers in the seventh. After Dennys Reyes put two runners on, Chris Hammond walked Bay to load the bases, then hit Craig Wilson on the foot with a pitch to force in a run. Daryle Ward followed with a sacrifice fly.
San Diego loaded the bases with none out in the eighth against Mike Gonzalez but scored only two runs. Brian Giles, who started the rally with an infield single, scored on shortstop Jack Wilson’s throwing error on Xavier Nady’s grounder. After pinch-hitter Ramon Hernandez hit into a double play that forced Nevin at the plate, Sean Burroughs had an RBI single.
“You have to cash in there,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re missing that big hit. I thought we beat ourselves. They were trying to hand it back to us and we didn’t take advantage of it.”
Klesko hit an RBI single with two outs in the sixth to chase Williams (1-0). He held San Diego to five hits and one run in 5 2-3 innings, struck out two and walked four.
Redding allowed five hits and no earned runs in five innings, struck out one and walked two.
Mexico’s Ana Guevara, the silver medalist in the 400 meters at the Athens Olympics, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … The Padres had trouble with the sun. Mark Loretta lost Mackowiak’s pop fly in the sun in the second inning and almost got hit as it dropped in for a two-out double. In the third, RF Giles was hit on the right shoulder after losing Jack Wilson’s foul ball in the sun.