Pittsburgh Pirates sweep San Diego Padres, win 5-2


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The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the San Diego Padres 5-2 last night, sweeping the home series and putting them 4.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals as the most important series of the season approaches this weekend. The Padres struck early against Charlie Morton but the Pirates rallied late to take the series and move their record to 50-34.

Alexi Amarista homered in the first inning to put the Padres on the board and they added a second run in the second inning when Melvin Upton Jr. doubled and scored Will Venable. These were the only two runs Morton gave up over six innings of work. He did walk four, but also induced ground balls for over half of his outs. The Pirates got one run back in the bottom of the second and then continued to add on when they could.

Jung Ho Kang doubled to center and then scored on Pedro Alvarez‘s sacrifice fly. Andrew Cashner and Morton traded scoreless innings for the next four until the Pirates tied the game in the seventh. Neil Walker doubled (his 21st of the season) and Andrew McCutchen followed that with a walk. Kang lifted a fly ball to center that allowed Walker to move to third and then score on Francisco Cervelli‘s ground ball to Amarista.

The Pirates put the game away in the eighth with a three-run inning. Former and current Pirate Travis Ishikawa drew a walk and scored on Gregory Polanco‘s deep hit to right field. Neil Walker drew a walk and during the at-bat Polanco moved to third on a wild pitch by new pitcher Brandon Maurer. McCutchen and Kang followed up with singles, each scoring Polanco and then Walker, giving the Pirates a three-run lead heading into the ninth. Antonio Bastardo (!) was given the save opportunity and earned it, his first of the season.

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What Stood Out

The Pirates became the second team in all of baseball to reach 50 wins this season. They dealt with a lot of injuries for the entire Padres’ series and still took all three games. The Pirates are playing great baseball right now, getting contributions from everybody.

Kang is making the injury to Harrison a little bit easier to deal with since he is producing great plays in the field and timely hits at the plate, at least in the first few games. Polanco and Alvarez also both contributed RBIs last night, players who were looked to for production and had not been hitting well.

What’s Next
We’ll say this a few more times this season, but tonight’s game begins the most important series of the year so far. Carlos Martinez and Jeff Locke will face off in the first game of the last series before the All-Star break. If Locke can somehow turn in a start like last time, he can get this pivotal series off in the right direction. Martinez has been extremely stingy this year, so the hitters will have their work cut out for them. The Pirates certainly know what is at stake and the next four games should be some of the best of the summer.

The team will hopefully provide an update on Starling Marte today. He has been dealing with a side injury and has not appeared in the last three games. He is an important part of the offense and hopefully can play in at least some of the games against St. Louis.

Next: Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 mid-season review