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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, September 19th (All times Eastern)

San Diego Padres (71-80) at Pittsburgh Pirates (87-65), 12:35 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: San Diego - Ian Kennedy (6-9, 4.85) Pittsburgh - Gerrit Cole (8-7, 3.33)

(Sports Network) - It's beginning to get interesting in the National League Central race and the Pittsburgh Pirates are playing themselves out of a chance for a division title.

The Pirates aim to get back in the hunt when they close out a four-game series Thursday afternoon versus the San Diego Padres at PNC Park. The Pirates have lost the first three meetings with the Padres and are now two games behind St. Louis for the division lead.

Pittsburgh, though, is percentage points ahead of the Cincinnati Reds for the first wild card spot, while the Reds are just 2 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in the division.

In Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Padres, Pirates closer Mark Melancon allowed consecutive RBI singles to Logan Forsythe and Rene Rivera in the ninth inning to suffer the loss. Pirates starter Charlie Morton struck out a career-high nine batters over eight innings of work in the no-decision and Andrew McCutchen belted a two-run homer.

"When you're up, you try not to get to high, you enjoy the moment," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "When things don't work your way, you gotta be steadfast and keep plowing."

The Cardinals defeated Colorado to take a two-game lead in the NL Central, while the Pirates lost for the fourth time in six tries. Pittsburgh begins another important series this weekend with the Reds coming to town.

Pittsburgh has won each of Gerrit Cole's last three starts and he takes the mound Thursday afternoon. Cole threw seven shutout innings in a win at Texas on Sept. 9 and followed that with another seven-inning effort in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Cole limited the visiting Cubs to a run and five hits to push his record to 8-7 in 17 starts, while lowering his ERA to 3.33. The rookie right-hander is 5-5 in 11 home starts and faced the Padres in a 2-1 loss at Petco Park on Aug. 21, when he suffered a hard-luck defeat for allowing both runs in six innings.

San Diego is out of the playoff picture, but has been playing solid baseball as of late with four straight wins and a 6-3 mark on a 10-game road trip.

Padres starter Tyson Ross pitched seven strong innings for San Diego and allowed two runs with seven strikeouts. Huston Street pitched a perfect ninth for his 31st save of the year and Dale Thayer came on with one out in the eighth to earn the win.

"Great win," said Black. "Tyson pitched great. He didn't deserve to lose that game, so it's fitting that he didn't. A lot of players contributed there in the end, it was great."

The Padres will host Los Angeles and Arizona on their upcoming homestand.

Ian Kennedy will make his ninth start in a Padres uniform Thursday and he owns a 3-1 mark to go along with a 3.86 ERA over his first eight starts with his new club. Acquired from Arizona in the middle of the summer, Kennedy, who was 3-8 in 21 starts with the D'backs, has posted back-to-back no-decisions.

Kennedy allowed three runs and five hits in six innings of a 4-3 victory at Atlanta on Friday and the Padres have won each of the right-hander's last three trips to the mound. Kennedy has struggled on the road this season, going 1-5 in 16 starts, and is 2-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career starts against the Pirates.

San Diego lost a three-game series versus the Pirates from Aug. 19-21 and went 5-1 against Pittsburgh last season.

09/19 10:23:56 ET

  • ACC: Wake Forest at Duke

    Wednesday at 8:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Virginia at Syracuse

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 620am

  • NHL Hurricanes at Chicago

    Tomorrow at 8:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • ACC: NC State at Clemson

    Tuesday at 9:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
2nd
ORL 22
CHA 28
 
Final
PHI 2
UTA 6
 
Final
CHI 86
LAC 96
1st OT
HOU 105
CLE 103
 
2nd
ORL 22
CHA 28
 
2nd
BOS 38
GSW 25
 
1st
IND 15
PHI 13
 
1st
SAC 17
POR 32
 
6:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
8:00pm Tonight
DEN
NOP
Final
NIAG 57
FAIR 56
 
Final
PETE 68
IONA 60
 
Final
RIDE 59
MAR 49
 
Final
MAN 69
QUIN 65
 
Final
UCONN 81
SMU 73
Final
CAL 73
ORST 56
Final
HOU 72
SFLA 55
Final
PROV 77
MARQ 66
Final
WISC 68
MSU 61
Final
MON 63
SIENA 57
 
1st
WAKE 6
PITT 5
 
7:00pm Tonight
STAN
OREG
7:30pm Tonight
OSU
PURD
8:30pm Tonight
COL
ARST
9:30pm Tonight
UCLA
WASU
3rd
WIN 4
LOS 2
 
2nd
PIT 3
CLB 1
 
2nd
FLA 2
TAM 1
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
STL