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Pirates avoid sweep as bats come alive

4:28 PM, Sep 19, 2013   |    comments
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Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Gerrit Cole struck out a career-high 12 batters in just six innings of work and the Pirates bats came alive, as Pittsburgh salvaged the finale of a four-game set against the San Diego Padres, 10-1, at PNC Park.

Cole (9-7) allowed just one run on four hits and walked only three for the Pirates, who increased their lead for the top NL wild card spot to one game over the idle Cincinnati Reds.

Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker each homered during a decisive five-run fourth inning for Pittsburgh, which improved to 4-4 on its current 11-game homestand that ends with a three-game set against the Reds beginning on Friday.

Walker ended with four hits and drove in three runs, and Jose Tabata went 2- for-3 with career-high-tying three RBI and two runs scored for the Pirates, who exploded for their highest run total since scoring 10 runs on August 22. Pittsburgh was held to just four runs over the first three games of this series.

Chris Denorfia went 2-for-3 with a run scored for the Padres, who had a four- game win streak halted and ended a 10-game road trip with a 6-4 mark.

After the teams exchanged first-inning runs, the Pirates, seeking their first post-season berth since 1992, put the game out of reach with a five-run fourth inning.

Alvarez broke the tie with a solo homer to start the inning's scoring. Tabata added a two-run double and Walker followed with a two-run homer for a 6-1 cushion.

All six runs were charged to San Diego starter Ian Kennedy (6-10), who absorbed the loss after allowing eight hits and striking out two in just 3 2/3 innings.

The Pirates put it out of reach in the seventh. Tabata's infield single scored a run and San Diego third baseman Chase Headley's throwing error on the play allowed another run to score. Walker followed with his fourth hit of the day to plate another run.

Walker's last four-hit game came on August 12, 2012, also against the Padres.

In the first inning, Tommy Medica singled home the game's first run for the Padres, but the Pirates answered with a run in the home half of the frame when Tabata scored on an Andrew McCutchen fielder's choice ground out.

Game Notes

Alvarez has 34 HRs this season ... Walker's HR was his 11th ... Cole is the first Pirates rookie to strike out at least double-digit batters since Josh Fogg did it on Aug. 16, 2002 vs. Milwaukee ...Cole's total was the most for a Pirates rookie since Jose DeLeon whiffed 13 Reds on Aug. 20, 1983 ... Sixty- four of Cole's 97 pitches were for strikes.

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