Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez both slammed two-run home runs on Tuesday night, and five Pittsburgh pitchers combined on a four-hitter as the Pirates (28-30) won for the 11th time in their last 16 games, beating the Padres 4-1 at Petco Park in San Diego.
The Pirates won for the second straight night against the Padres (26-33), despite recording only six hits. Jordy Mercer provided two of those hits. Mercer has gone 6-for-9 in the last two games, raising his batting average from .199 to .226 in just two days.
Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole (6-3; 3.64 ERA) earned the win, leaving the game after throwing 100 pitches through five-and-two-thirds innings. Cole struck out six hitters and walked two. Relievers Jared Hughes, Tony Watson, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli combined to hurl three-and-a-third scoreless, hitless innings with five additional combined strikeouts. Working the ninth inning, Grilli earned his ninth save of the season.
San Diego’s starter, Jesse Hahn, was making his Major League debut following his recent call-up from “AA” baseball.
The Pirates will try for a three-game series sweep on Wednesday (6:40 PM EDT), sending Francisco Liriano (1-5) against the Padres’ Ian Kennedy (4-6).