Alonso, Padres sneak past Pirates

Forrest Lee, The Sports Xchange

SAN DIEGO -- Runs were scarce again for the San Diego Padres, but they scored enough Wednesday to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Yonder Alonso had two RBIs, and the Padres hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Pirates before an announced crowd of 19,126 at Petco Park.

Alonso, who went 2-for-3, said the key was the Padres being able to peck away at Pirates starter Gerrit Cole. San Diego scored a run in the third on an Alonso sacrifice fly and another in the fifth on his RBI single.

"You got a give credit to the whole lineup," said Alonso, who is hitting .321 in 31 games since the All-Star break. "We put a lot of pressure on (Cole). He's a good pitcher. He's got a very good arm, and he's a guy who throws a lot of pitches for strikes. Today we were able to put a lot of pressure on these guys."

The Padres (57-70) prevented the Pirates from recording their first sweep in San Diego since 2003. The Pirates (74-52) won at Petco Park on Monday and Tuesday.

Pittsburgh's National League Central lead slipped to one game over the St. Louis Cardinals, who defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 8-6 earlier in the day.

"I just felt like I let a pretty good opportunity slip away because we had an opportunity to come in here and sweep and set the tone for the San Francisco series," said Cole (6-6), who allowed two runs on 10 hits in six innings. He finished with five strikeouts and no walks. "I was just disappointed that I wasn't better able to help the team."

San Diego starter Ian Kennedy threw seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out eight. He made 108 pitches, 70 of them strikes. Kennedy (5-9) was coming off his worst outing since being obtained by the Padres from the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 31. The New York Mets knocked him around for five runs (four earned) while handing him a 5-2 defeat Friday.

Kennedy worked himself out of bases-loaded jam in the first and cruised the rest of the way. He didn't allow a baserunner past first from the second inning on, allowing just two hits and a walk over his last six innings.

"I think Ian settled in after the first inning and threw the ball well," Padres manager Bud Black said. "For Ian, today the key was fastball command, painted strikes and a much better change after about the 15th pitch. I thought his change really came into play, and the slider and curve. He had a four-pitch mix of pitches.

"It looked like he was trying to be too fine in that first inning. Fortunately, he got that third out. From there, I thought he was really efficient and was in command of the game."

Andrew McCutchen, who went 2-for-2 with an RBI, hit an eighth-inning sacrifice fly off reliever Luke Gregerson to score newly promoted Felix Pie and cut San Diego's lead to 2-1.

Huston Street retired the side in order in the ninth for his 24th save. Street extended his string of scoreless innings to 15 1/3.

The Padres, who have managed just four runs during the three-game series, outhit the Pirates 11-4. Logan Forsythe went 3-for-3 for San Diego.

Will Venable led off the third with a double to right and advanced to third on a groundout by Chris Denorfia. Venable scored on Alonso's sacrifice fly to left.

With two outs in the fifth, Alonso drove home Denorfia, who had singled and stole second.

NOTES: Pie played left field, batted leadoff and went 1-for-3 with a walk after the Pirates purchased his contract from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day. To make room on the 25- and 40-man rosters, the Pirates optioned RHP Ryan Reid to Indianapolis and transferred LHP Wandy Rodriguez (left forearm tightness) to the 60-day disabled list. ... Pirates OF Starling Marte didn't play for the third consecutive game because of a bruised right hand. His status is day-to-day. ... The Pirates open a four-game series Thursday with the Giants in San Francisco. Pittsburgh LHP Jeff Locke (9-4, 2.90 ERA) will face RHP Matt Cain (8-8, 4.35). ... The Padres are off Thursday before hosting the Cubs for a three-game set beginning Friday. Edwin Jackson (7-13, 4.12) will start for Chicago, while the Padres will counter with Edinson Volquez (9-10, 5.72).