Pittsburgh Pirates: Home Runs, Big Game From Carlos Santana Powers Victory Over the Padres

Carlos Santana did it with the bat and the glove on Monday night

Jul 24, 2023; San Diego, California, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Carlos Santana (41)
Jul 24, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Carlos Santana (41) / Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports
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Carlos Santana flashed the leather while going deep twice as part of a four home run night for the Pittsburgh Pirates in a series-opening victory over the San Diego Padres

After losing two of three in Anaheim against the Angels to fall to 2-7 since the All-Star Break, the Pittsburgh Pirates continued their West Coast swing on Monday night with a trip to San Diego. In game one of a three-game series at Petco Park, the Pirates defeated the Padres 8-4.

With the win, the Pirates are now 44-56 on the season. This victory also make the Bucs 4-0 on the season against the Padres.

Home runs fuel the Pirate offense

Coming off a strong offensive series in Anaheim, the Pirate offense continue to hit for power on Monday night. This included three Pirate home runs heping to power the team's offense agaisnt the Yu Darvish.

Jack Suwinski led off the 3rd inning with his 21st home run of the season. This was part of a three-hit night, including a double, for Suwinski against the club that drafted him. Following a one-out walk by Andrew McCutchen in the 3rd inning, Carlos Santana launched a 2-run shot. The second Pirate home run of the inning, and 10th of the season by Santana, made the score 3-1 Pirates.

In the 4th inning the Pirate power surge continued. With Jared Triolo on first base following a single 22-year-old Liover Peguero launched a 2-run home run. The 1st home run of Peguero's MLB career made the score 5-1 Pirates.

The top of the 5th inning saw Santana hit another 2-run home run with McCutchen on base, giving him 12 on the season. He also flashed the leather on Monday as Santana did a little bit of everything in the Pirate victory.

The Pirate offense was able to spoil Darvish's start on his bobblehead night. In front of a packed house at Petco Park wielding Darvish bobbleheads, the Pirates got to Darvish for 7 runs on eight hits, three walks, four home runs, and three strikeouts in 4.1 innings pitched. This was just the second time in Darvish's MLB career that he allowed four home runs in a game.

Quinn Priester's 1st career win

After struggling in his first career start, Quinn Priester took a step forward in career start number two. Other than allowing a pair of home runs to Ha-Seong Kim, Priester pitched well in 5.1 innings pitched on his way to his 1st MLB win.

Priester allowed a home run to Kim to start the bottom of the 1st. Priester would then cruise until allowing a 2-run home run to Kim in the 5th inning. These two home runs accounted for two of the four hits Priester allowed and all 3 of the 4 runs he allowed.

The final line for Priester was 4 runs allowed on four hits, the two Kim home runs, three walks, and four strikeouts in 5.1 innings pitched. He threw 50 of 89 pitches for strikes and generated 5 swings-and-misses. The final run Priester was charged with scored with Ryan Borucki on the mound after Priester's day had ended.

The Pirates still need to Priester to keep improving and pitch better than he did on Monday night. That said, this start was better than the first for Priester. Hopefully, he will continue to improve with each start.

Pirate bullpen keeps the Padres at bay

Lefty Ryan Borucki allowed an inherited runner to score in the 6th inning, but the run scored on the lone hit he allowed while striking a batter out in 1.0 scoreless innings pitched. Carmen Mlodzinski took over for Borucki with one out in the 7th inning.

Mlodzinski issued a walk to Kim, but got a pop out before getting some help from his catcher to end the inning.

Watching Endy Rodriguez continue to make the Pirates look foolish for keeping him in the minors so long while Austin Hedges was the worst player in baseball is great. Mlodzinski returned to the mound for the 8th inning, firing a scoreless frame to keep the Pirates in front.

Colin Holderman then got the ball in the 9th inning. In a low-leverage situation with the Pirates leading 8-4, Holderman retired the Padres in order. Holderman continues to pitch well in low-leverage situations while struggling in high-leverage, it's obvious to see how to use Holderman moving forward.

Next up

Veteran lefty Rich Hill (4.84 ERA, 4.34 FIP) is set to pitch for the Pirates on Tuesday night. He will be opposed by another lefty, National League ERA leader Blake Snell (2.67 ERA, 3.65) is slated to start for the Padres. First pitch from Petco Park is scheduled for 9:40 PM ET.

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