Martin singled in the second; the other Bucs K'ed. Hahn hasn't shown the velocity we expected, tossing at 92-93 with a curve, but the Pirates don't look comfortable at the plate, taking strikes and chasing balls. We'll see if they zero in better the second time around. with two gone, Will Venable tatooed a heater up the first base line for a double. The Padres are sitting on the fastball, so Cole used three sliders to sit Cameron Maybin down to end the frame.
Jordy Mercer looked comfy to open the third and lined a single to right center. Cole bunted into a force - nice hustle to beat the relay - and trotted home an out later when The Kid took a curve down and away and dropped it barely into the left center field stands to make it 2-0. Cutch walked, but Ike finished the frame with a grounder into the shift. Cole walked Rene Rivera, the eight hitter, to start, and he was bunted to second. A whiff and short pop to left later, and the frame was done.
Russ walked to start the fourth and Pedro lined a 3-1 fastball just under the knees over the right field wall; it left the yard so quickly that he barely got out of the box before the umps waved him around. With an out, Jordy banged a hanging curve into left. Cole popped out bunting; it may have cost him a run as Josh singled to right. But that took care of Hahn; Jason Lane, 37 and a converted outfielder, came on to make his first MLB appearance on the hill. It was memorable, as he K'ed Neil Walker chasing a change. The Bucs have whiffed six times, three on chases. Cole tossed a clean frame.
Lane gave the Padres what they needed; a quiet inning. He was helped by a couple of at 'em balls, but it's four up, four down for him. Cole finished the fifth 1-2-3; he's retired nine in row now. Lane kept humming in the sixth, knocking down Travis Snider's shot and getting the out between a pair of pops. Cole's streak ended with two outs; he surrendered three consecutive singles, two smoked and the last a cue shot. A run came in after an off-line relay by Harrison to make it 4-1. That brought on Jared Hughes. Jedd Gyorko banged one up the middle, but The Kid was shaded that way and tossed him out.
The Pirates didn't have an answer for Lane and his eighty-something MPH pitches; he's up to ten in a row and struck out a pair (one was Starling Marte pinch hitting, so that K gets an asterisk) in the seventh. Tony Watson put up a zero, working easily around a one-out walk to Maybin.
Kevin Quackenbush climbed the mound in the eighth to replace the untouchable Mr. Lane. He outdid him, using just five pitches to retire the middle of the Buc order. Mark the Shark took the ball against the top of the order. He tossed a quick frame, picking up a couple of K.
Huston Street got the call for San Diego in the ninth, and the closer tucked the Bucs away quickly and quietly. Jason Grilli jogged out to the bump, and two whiffs and a soft grounder later, the Bucs had sewn up the 4-1 win.Cole went to 6-3 and Grilled Cheese picked up his ninth save.
The game went quickly time-wise but didn't have much juice. The Bucs seemed to lose interest after Pedro's homer, and the Padres, like last night, have one inning in them at the dish. Plate ump Alan Porter's generous zone also helped the game move along. Too bad that Cole couldn't get deeper and that the Bucs had to use the back end of the pen, but it does guarantee another series win with the possibility of a sweep tomorrow, and with an off day Thursday, it's all good.
Francisco Liriano takes on Ian Kennedy in the series closer tomorrow afternoon.
- Jordy Mercer has three straight multi-hit games on the West Coast swing, raising his average from .190 to .226.
- The Pirate pitchers collected 11 K tonight (Cole-6, Melancon-2, Grilli-2, Watson-1). It's the fourth consecutive 10+ K outing for the staff.
- Carlos Quentin wasn't in the lineup today; no surprise after he jaked a grounder last night on his way to first. He did pinch hit, and struck out looking.
- The Padres threw 126 pitches tonight, 123 less than last evening.
- Stolmy Pimentel will pitch three innings for Altoona Friday as his rehab continues.