Gyorko hits key blast as Padres top Pirates
Homer helps lift lefty Stults to his first win since the All-Star break
PITTSBURGH -- Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko thrilled the home folks in attendance from Morgantown, W.Va., with a three-run home run that helped power the Padres to a 5-2 win over the Pirates on Tuesday night at PNC Park.
"The West Virginia Gyorkos, they are coming in buses," Padres manager Bud Black said. "And Jedd is not disappointing them. The three-run homer, the defense, the base hit in the first inning, he's doing great. I'm happy for Jedd, I know that Jedd was looking forward to this trip. The West Virginia Gyorkos, they travel well."
Gyorko, who also played his college baseball at West Virginia University, clubbed his 19th home run of the season in the top of the third inning off Jeff Locke after consecutive singles by Chris Denorfia and Will Venable to give the Padres a 3-0 lead.
"He tried to sneak a fastball in," Gyorko said. "He'd done the same fastball the pitch before and it kind of got in on me. I just wanted to make sure I got the head out, I didn't want him to beat me again and I got a good swing and just enough of it to get it out."
"It's frustrating to have two guys on base, and one pitch later everybody is cashed in," Locke added. "And I've been able to strand guys all season. Goes to show -- you can't take anyone lightly, got to make pitches to everybody in the lineup."
The Padres have been a thorn in the Pirates' side. The 16-36 mark Pittsburgh compiled after Aug. 8 last season included five losses and just one win over San Diego. Since PNC Park opened in 2001, the Pirates have dropped every home series against the Padres, who are 30-10 in the Buccos' ballpark.
The loss also hurt the Pirates in their postseason push, as they fell to a game back of the first-place Cardinals in the National League Central, and their lead for the top Wild Card spot is just 1 1/2 games over the Reds.
Padres lefty Eric Stults, who was 0-6 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 starts since the All-Star break, snapped his losing streak by tossing five innings and allowing two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. He upped his record to 9-13 with the win.
"Stults hung in there," Black said. "Stults in his last start in Philadelphia went to the fastball-change combination, and he did that again today -- very few hooks, very few sliders. Good with the fastball, good with the change. He got a couple soft hits, but I thought he threw the ball well. He had to work a little bit tonight, they made it tough on him, but I think he deserved that win."
Stults was happy to get in the win column.
"It's been awhile," Stults said. "Definitely getting the win tonight, it's one of those things where it's maybe a confidence boost. I've thrown some good games, but either lost or gave us a chance to win and it just didn't happen for me, but that's the way it goes. To get a win tonight, especially winning the first two games in the series, is big for our team."
The Padres backed their pitching with some highlight-reel defensive plays.
"The boys played great, they really did," Black said. "I thought all night long we kept making plays, kept making good plays."
The Pirates got on the board in the bottom of the third inning. Locke led off with a single. With two outs, Andrew McCutchen hit a ground-rule double, putting runners at second and third. Marlon Byrd singled home Locke and McCutchen to cut the Padres' lead to 3-2.
After the Pirates had closed the gap, Locke was back on the hot seat in the top of the fourth. Ronny Cedeno singled and advanced to third on a double by Nick Hundley. Stults was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Locke induced Denorfia to ground into a double play, but Cedeno was able to score on the play to up the Padres' lead to 4-2. Locke struck out Venable to end the inning.
The Padres tacked on an insurance run off Pirates reliever Bryan Morris in the top of the seventh inning. With one out, Gyorko singled. Chase Headley also singled, putting runs at first and second. Tommy Medica then added one more single to score Gyorko and give the Padres a 5-2 lead.
The Padres' bullpen hurled four scoreless frames to preserve the win. Right-hander Tim Stauffer tossed two innings, right-hander Nick Vincent one inning and right-hander Luke Gregerson closed it out to pick up his fourth save.