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Pirates 3, Padres 1

The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO -- Pedro Alvarez hit his National League-leading 31st home run, and Francisco Liriano struck out 13 to spark the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday night.

The win allowed the Pirates (73-51) to bounce back from Sunday's 4-2 loss in 16 innings to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Pittsburgh. They flew across country and beat the Padres (56-69) in the first meeting between the clubs this season.

Alvarez drove an 85 mph slider from starter Andrew Cashner out to right with two outs in the sixth. He set a career high for homers, topping the mark he set last year, and he moved ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt for the league lead.

Liriano (14-5) kept the Padres' hitters in check, throwing seven shutout innings and limiting them to four hits. He threw 104 pitches (66 strikes), allowing four hits and two walks.

The Padres loaded the bases against him in the fourth, but Liriano induced Ronny Cedeno to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning. After giving up a double to Chris Denorfia in the fifth, Liriano retired the final eight batters he faced.

Justin Wilson retired the Padres in order in the eighth. Mark Melancon, who gave up an RBI double to Nick Hundley in the ninth, recorded his eighth save by striking out pinch hitter Mark Kotsay.

It was a tough luck outing for Cashner, who allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits in seven innings. He threw only 84 pitches (56 strikes) before being lifted for pinch hitter Jaff Decker. Cashner (8-8) walked two and struck out three.

San Diego's Will Venable had his 15-game hitting streak snapped. Venable, the NL's Player of the Week, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

The Pirates took advantage of a San Diego miscue to score twice in the fourth. Andrew McCutchen led off with a single and scored when Alvarez's single to right got past Denorfia and rolled to the wall. Alvarez also scored on the play for a 2-0 lead.

NOTES: Pirates LHP Wandy Rodriguez threw a bullpen session Monday in San Diego. Rodriguez, who has been out since June 6 with tightness in his left forearm, said he still felt discomfort in his arm. ... Pirates RHP James McDonald allowed two runs on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning of a rehab start for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Pirates on Monday. McDonald has been on the disabled list since May 7 with discomfort in his right shoulder. ... Pirates OF Travis Snider (toe) went 1-for-3 Monday in the first game of a rehab assignment with Double-A Altoona. ... Pittsburgh RHP Ryan Reid was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. LHP Kris Johnson, who went six innings in relief Sunday in his big-league debut, was optioned to Indianapolis. ... The Padres recalled RHP Brad Boxberger from Triple-A Tucson and designated RHP Sean O'Sullivan for assignment. ... The game drew an announced crowd of 24,850 at Petco Park.
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