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Padres 4, Pirates 3: Lucchesi burns bright against Bucs

Brad Hand made it a close one, but the Friars prevailed.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to Joey Lucchesi, the Padres ended June on a high note. The young lefty tossed five scoreless frames against the Pirates, holding them to just one hit while picking up five Ks. The offense gave him a four run lead, and while Brad Hand almost let it slip away in the ninth, the Friars held on to even the series at a game each.

Christian Villanueva got the offense going with a one-out double in the second. After hitting his tenth two-bagger of the year, he moved 90 feet closer to home on Jose Pirela’s follow-up single. A ground out from Freddy Galvis plated Villanueva, and the Friars were on the board.

Wil Myers doubled that lead in the third inning with his first of three RBI tonight. Of course, calling this bomb to the right field deck a RBI is underselling it a bit.

Austin Hedges and Matt Szczur started a bit of a rally in the fifth when Pittsburgh’s Trevor Williams couldn’t find the zone and walked both on just nine pitches. Travis Jankowski laid down a bunt to advance both runners and bring Wil back to the plate with two out. He didn’t disappoint as he ripped a double into left to score two runs that would turn out to be crucial.

The Pirates struck back in the sixth. Josh Bell led off with a single, and one out later David Freese stung Matt Strahm with a double. A ground out plated Bell, ending the shutout. Craig Stammen and Kirby Yates were lights out for the next two innings, but Hand struggled in the ninth.

Elias Diaz and Austin Meadows led off with back-to-back doubles, cutting the Padres’ lead to just two runs. Gregory Polanco made things even worse with a triple. Andy Green challenged the call on the field, but Polanco was still safe after the review. With the tying run on third and nobody out, things looked bad. But Polanco was stranded as Hand retired the next three batters to finish the game.

Tyson Ross will take the mound in tomorrow’s rubber match. First pitch at 1:10 PM.