Padres 3, Pirates 10. Friars start first June homestand with a loss

Denis Poroy

Coming off a series win in Chicago, the Padres hoped to capitalize against a team that had been a favorable opponent in the recent years. However, the Pirates came ready to meet the challenge this time.

Tim Stauffer, coming off one of the worst starts in Padres history, looked on the right track to start the game. In the first two innings he faced just seven batters and struck out three of them. The Padres offense also start the game with a couple of baserunners. Both both sides of the ball would get worse before they got better.

The hitters would strikeout seven times in the first 4 innings and leave men on on base in multiples times. Tim Stauffer would give up a leadoff homerun in the 3rd inning to Jordy Mercer and would seemingly be rattled by it. He would strike out the pitcher but then let 3 straight hitters get on base. Things were unraveling. A couching visit to the mound helped result in an out, but it was a sacrifice fly to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. One walk later and Bud Black felt he had to make a move. For the second straight start Tim Stauffer was taken out early. Not nearly as early as the previous start as this time the manager had a quick hook. Something Black is not known for in his career. Alex Torres came in to face lefty slugger Pedro Alvarez and strike him out.

Torres would stay in the ball game, perhaps getting a chance to show that he can be a long man in the pen with Troy Patton a new option as a LOOGY. Torres would be forced to bat in the bottom of the 3rd and become one of those aforementioned strikeout victims. When he returned to the mound it was quickly found out that the strikeout of Alvarez did not foretell good things to come. He would hit Starling Marte, who swiped 2B thereafter, and give up an RBI single to pesky Jordy Mercer to make it 3-0. A sacrifice bunt followed by another single and another hit batsman and Torres was in another jam. This time to defending NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. The game seemed about to blow up, but again the Padres escaped the big inning when, by the power of the mighty Kouz, McCutchen grounded into a double play.

The score remained the same for the rest of the first half of the game with Charlie Morton struggling with control but keeping the Padres hitless and scoreless and Torres and Kevin Quackenbush combining to hold the Buccos at bay. However, in the bottom of the 5th the Padres bats were heard. Alexi Amarista worked the count in his favor and hit a 3-1 pitch past a diving second baseman for a single. He would score on a gapper Everth Cabrera. Cabby would quickly come around on a single up the middle by Seth Smith. With no outs, the Padres seemed primed to keep the rally going. They even loaded the bases, but with 2 outs already recorded by the that point a Tommy Medica pinch hit strikeout ended the inning with only 2 runs across.

The Pirates would immediately tack on an insurance run in the 6th off Dale Thayer. Once again they seemed ready to break the game open. 3 singles and a walk led to the run and a bases loaded situation. However, Dale Thayer would strike out Russell Martin to keep the game close. The Pirates still would not keep quiet though. In the 7th Nick Vincent would be the 4th Padres pitcher to give up a run when Josh Harrison got a bases loaded single to make it a 5-2 game. Then a double by Neil Walker finally blew the game open. Vincent would get pulled with the Pirates up 7-2.

The scoring would not quite end for either team. After the stretch the Padres would score a run on two walks and an RBI groundout. The Pirates would pick up three more in the 8th to reach double digits. Blowouts often will drag, but this one drone on especially long as lots of walks, deep counts and hit batsman push the game past the 3 and a half hour mark before the 8th inning even started. This jet lagged game recapper did not appreciate this development. Mercifully the game would eventually end.

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