Teams heading in opposite directions will meet on Saturday when the surging San Diego Padres visit the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates.
San Diego has won four straight, while the Pirates have lost four in a row following the Padres’ 7-3 win on Friday.
The Padres broke a 2-2 tie on a bases-loaded, sharp grounder by Jake Cronenworth that struck second base umpire Jeremie Rehak’s lower leg. The play was scored as an RBI single. Manny Machado followed with a sacrifice fly — and the Pirates never recovered.
In the bottom of the ninth, with two on and two out, Bryan Reynolds rocketed a 100-mph line drive that appeared headed to the left-field corner. But it was hit right at Machado, one of the best fielding third basemen in the game.
“We haven’t really caught a break,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton after the game. “If it’s not right at Manny it’s a double. We’ve got to keep swinging the bats. We need to find some offense and maybe find it in some different ways.”
The Pirates haven’t homered in six games. They have only one extra-base hit in the past three. Pittsburgh had 10 hits — all singles — Friday.
“And we hit some balls hard at people,” said Shelton.
On Saturday, Padres left-hander Sean Manaea (2-2, 3.47 ERA) will be paired against right-hander JT Brubaker (0-2, 6.46). Each will be making his fifth start of the season while coming off a shaky performance.
Manaea, who was acquired from Oakland just before the start of the season, had his worst start as a Padre in his last outing. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings at home against the Dodgers on Sunday.
“It was one of those games where he just didn’t have his best stuff,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said of Manaea, who entered his fourth start with a 1.42 ERA.
Brubaker worked only three innings against the Cubs in Chicago last Sunday, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts in three innings while battling a case of the flu.
Brubaker, 28, is still trying to prove himself as a big-league starter.
He has a 6-18 career record with a 5.34 ERA and 1.342 WHIP in 39 career appearances (37 starts). He has 194 strikeouts in 185 innings.
Brubaker has faced the Padres once before, last May 5 in San Diego where he gave up two runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in five innings.
Manaea, 30, has a 52-43 record with a 3.85 ERA in 132 career starts. This will be his first career start against the Pirates.
“The last couple of games, the ability to come back from early deficits then keep adding on later in the game has been big for us,” Melvin said after Friday’s win. “That, and getting production from the bottom of the order.”
–Field Level Media