Pirates 4, Padres 1

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—Tom Gorzelanny overcame a shaky start and kept himself among the National League’s ERA leaders.

Gorzelanny, who entered the game third in the NL with a 2.51 ERA, lowered that number to 2.39 after overcoming a shaky first inning to work seven solid innings in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 4-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night .

Pirates outfielder Jason Bay, who kept his own hot streak going with two hits, including his eighth homer, acknowledged that the left-hander is Pittsburgh’s leader on the mound.

“I’m not going to say he came out of nowhere,” Bay said, “but he’s our bona fide guy right now. He’s our stopper. It’s nice to have that guy that goes out there every single day and you’re thinking he’s going to throw a gem and give you a chance to win.”

Josh Bard went 3-for-4 and Jose Cruz had two hits for the Padres, who had won three in a row and six of seven.

Gorzelanny (6-3) scattered seven hits while allowing the one run, striking out four and walking three as the Pirates won for the fourth time in five games. Gorzelanny allowed only eight earned runs in his six starts in May.

“I’m still a long ways from being established,” said Gorzelanny, who is in his second full season in the majors. “And I’m just going to go out there, do my thing, work hard. I know there’s still a lot of things I have to work on, especially with my pitch count.”

That negative aspect of his game was on display in the first inning, when Gorzelanny threw 34 pitches and loaded the bases before escaping unscathed.

“He showed tremendous signs of a very mature guy out there,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. “In the first inning of the game it looks like `How far are we going to be able to get with him with 34 pitches in the first inning?’ He just kept battling. This guy finds ways.

“He kept getting better as the night goes on.”

The only run he allowed was a sacrifice fly by Termel Sledge that scored Kevin Kouzmanoff in the sixth. Other than the first inning, he twice stranded runners at second base. The last batter Gorzelanny faced was Adrian Gonzalez, with a runner on and two outs in the seventh. Gorzelanny struck him out with his 120th pitch.

“You’ve got to give credit to their guy,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. “He wobbled a little bit but made a couple of pitches that get them out of the inning. A hit in that inning with a couple of guys on would have been nice but Gorzelanny hung in there and made some pitches.

“I can see why this guy has a two-and-a-half ERA, he’s got good stuff. He’s got a lot of things going for him.”

Jose Bautista helped the Pirates take an early lead against David Wells. He singled and scored on Xavier Nady’s single in the first, and doubled and scored on Freddy Sanchez’s single in the third to make it 2-0.

Bay hit his third homer in his past five games to answer San Diego’s run in the sixth—the first homer Padres reliever Cla Meredith had allowed in 21 appearances this season. Bay, who was named NL player of the week earlier Tuesday, is 12-for-24 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in his past seven games.

“A lot of times in the past you go on a little hot streak, and it doesn’t mean as much because you’re not winning,” Bay said. “This has coincided with us winning so I think it means a little bit more.”

Wells (2-3) allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings, walked one and struck out two. The Padres have scored only seven runs in his past four starts.

“I would never point the finger at my teammates for a lack of run support because these guys are going out there … trying to score,” Wells said. “And that’s all you can do. I threw the pitches so I’m the one to blame.”

The Pirates added an insurance run in the eighth against Kevin Cameron, the first run he allowed in 17 1-3 career innings. Adam LaRoche—who had three hits — singled in Bay.

Salomon Torres pitched the ninth for his 12th save.


San Diego 2B Marcus Giles was ejected by first base umpire Joe West before the bottom of the second began. Giles was called out on strikes by plate umpire C.B. Bucknor in the top of the inning on a ball that could have been low. … Oscar Robles, Giles’ replacement, was originally called out on a sinking line drive to left that television replays showed Bay trapped. After Black came out to argue the call, the umpires gathered and reversed it, giving Robles a single. Tracy then argued, to no avail.

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