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Pirates unable to score late in close defeat

The Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Jake Cronenworth hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the sixth inning and the San Diego Padres held on and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 Wednesday night to take two of three.

Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his big league-leading 11th save in 11 chances. Craig Stammen (2-1) got the final out of the sixth for the win in relief of Yu Darvish.

Cronenworth’s go-ahead hit came a half inning after Darvish surrendered a two-run lead and was chased with the score tied at 2. Darvish didn’t factor in the decision but struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings while allowing six hits and one walk.

Victor Caratini, Darvish’s personal catcher, homered in the third. Caratini opened the sixth by reaching on third baseman Erik Gonzalez’s third error of the night and took third on pinch-hitter Trent Grisham’s double to left off Duane Underwood Jr. (1-1).

After Tommy Pham struck out for the third straight time, Cronenworth singled to right to give the Padres the lead.

Darvish lost his lead in the span of five batters in the sixth. Bryan Reynolds hit a leadoff home run to left, his his third. After Darvish allowed consecutive singles followed by a strikeout, Ka’ai Tom hit a sacrifice fly to tie it. Darvish hit rookie Hunter Owen with a pitch and was lifted for Stammen (2-1).

Kevin Newman, who grew up in suburban Poway, hit an inning-ending groundout.

Darvish had struck out the side in the fifth. He was coming off an excellent outing against San Francisco in which he struck out 12 and allowed one run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Caratini hit a leadoff homer in the third off JT Brubaker, his second. Brubaker allowed three straight Padres to reach with one out in the fifth, with Fernando Tatis Jr. scoring on Wil Myers’ single.

Brubaker allowed two runs and six hits in five innings, struck out seven and walked one.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: Manager Jayce Tingler said RHP Dinelson Lamet and LHP Ryan Weathers were feeling well after their outings in a 2-1 loss Tuesday night. Lamet, who had been on the injured list with right forearm inflammation, started and went two innings and Weathers, who came out of his previous outing with a sore left arm, went three innings. Tingler says the next steps for each pitcher are to be determined.

UP NEXT

Pirates: RHP Trevor Cahill (1-3, 7.40 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday in the opener of a three-game series at the Chicago Cubs, who will counter with RHP Zach Davies (1-2, 8.22).

Padres: LHP Blake Snell (1-0, 3.51) is scheduled to start Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at San Francisco, which will counter with RHP Anthony DeSclafani (2-1, 2.00).

Tuesday’s game

Mitch Keller tossed shutout ball into the sixth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates slipped past the San Diego Padres 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Keller (2-3) kept the Padres off balance by mixing his pitches effectively. He allowed two hits over 5-plus innings and struck out five.

“Trusting my stuff, going with the game plan,” Keller said. “I felt really good with my fastball.”

The right-hander entered with an 8.20 ERA after his first five outings this season.

“You have to tip your cap (to Keller),” San Diego manager Jayce Tingler said. “It’s tough getting runs right now. We just don’t have a lot of guys feeling it.”

Keller also got his first major league hit, a single to right field in the fifth.

“It felt great,” he said. “I have been searching for that one since 2019 when I first got called up.”

Four relievers combined to give up one run in 3-plus innings for the Pirates. Richard Rodriguez earned his fifth save by working a scoreless ninth.

“We have all the confidence in the world in our ‘pen to get us out of stuff,” Keller said. “It’s a great feeling.”

With two outs and the bases empty for San Diego, left fielder Ka’ai Tom made a jumping catch against the wall on a hard smash by Austin Nola that would have gone for extra bases.

The Padres activated right-hander Dinelson Lamet to make the start and he was on a strict pitch count. Lamet left his season debut after just two innings on April 21 with right forearm tightness. He lasted two innings and threw 30 pitches this time, giving up no runs and four hits.

“I’m back and I am building back up and that is what is important,” Lamet said through a translator. “Everything is a process. At the same time, I am taking everything day by day. I’m honestly not trying to be too anxious about it. Right now I am focused on feeling good and that’s what I did tonight.”

Ryan Weathers (1-1) started the third inning in relief and promptly gave up a run on back-to-back doubles by Adam Frazier and Bryan Reynolds. Weathers got the next three batters to keep it 1-0.

Pittsburgh scratched a run across in the sixth against Keone Kela for a 2-0 lead.

With one out, Gonzalez singled and stole second. He was running on a pitch hit by Jacob Stallings to Padres second baseman Cronenworth, who threw to first to attempt to get the second out. But meanwhile, Gonzalez kept running around third and beat the throw home by first baseman Eric Hosmer, who was charged with an error for coming off the bag before the catch.

“My primary goal was to get to third,” Gonzalez said through a translator. “When I saw that situation happen I took a really good lead on it and I just said, this is my best shot to score.”

The Padres scored in the seventh off reliever David Bednar to narrow the gap to 2-1. With one out, Nola singled to drive in Will Myers from second base. Bednar struck out Ha-Seong Kim and retired pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis Jr. on a popup to end the threat.

“As a group we just aren’t swinging like we are capable of,” Tingler said. “We are having a hard time stringing together two, three good at-bats in a row.”

Kim, who replaced Tatis at shortstop, made two outstanding defensive plays in the second inning, including sprinting for a ball in shallow left field and throwing out Tom at third.

Health report

Pirates: Placed OF Gregory Polanco on the injured list without giving a reason. “I can’t comment on any of that. He’s on the IL. That’s all I can say,” manager Derek Shelton said.” To take Polanco’s roster spot, the Pirates selected OF/INF Hunter Owen.

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