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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

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 0
DUR 1
 
Final
NOR 1
DUR 2
 
12:30pm Today
NCSU
GASO
6:00pm Tonight
DUKE
ELON
 
6:00pm Tonight
UNC
LBRTY
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
8:00pm Tonight
ECU
NCCU
 
Final
PIT 2
CIN 1
Final
BAL 9
MIN 1
Final
TOR 3
NYY 6
Final
TAM 4
BOS 8
Final
NYM 4
PHI 1
Final
ATL 5
MIA 2
Final
KAN 1
CLE 6
Final
CWS 1
DET 7
Final
HOU 6
TEX 13
Final
STL 2
CHC 7
Final
ARI 5
COL 2
Final
ANA 4
OAK 0
Final
SDP 3
LOS 2
Final
SEA 3
WAS 8
Final
SFG 13
MIL 2
1:07pm Today
TOR
NYY
 
1:10pm Today
CWS
DET
 
2:15pm Today
STL
CHC
 
4:05pm Today
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
MIN
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
BOS
 
7:10pm Tonight
KAN
CLE
 
7:10pm Tonight
CWS
DET
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
PHI
 
7:10pm Tonight
HOU
TEX
 
8:10pm Tonight
ARI
COL
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
CHC
 
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
LOS
 
9:05pm Tonight
SFG
MIL
 
9:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
 
9:10pm Tonight
SEA
WAS
 
Final
UCONN 10
BYU 35
Final
WKENT 59
BGU 31
Final
MSU 45
JVST 7
Final
COL 17
COLST 31
Final
HOU 7
TXSANANTO 27
Final
ARZ 58
UNLV 13
1st
UCF 0
PSU 0
 
12:00pm Today
MICH
APPST
12:00pm Today
NAVY
OSU
12:00pm Today
UAB
TROY
12:00pm Today
UVA
UCLA
12:00pm Today
PURD
WMICH
12:30pm Today
NCSU
GASO
3:00pm Today
UMASS
BC
3:30pm Today
NW
CAL
3:30pm Today
NEB
FATL
3:30pm Today
UMO
MARS
3:30pm Today
ND
RICE
3:30pm Today
MIZZ
SDST
3:30pm Today
ALA
WVU
4:00pm Today
AUB
ARK
4:00pm Today
STAN
UCD
5:30pm Tonight
UGA
CLEM
6:00pm Tonight
UNC
LBRTY
6:00pm Tonight
KSU
OHIO
7:00pm Tonight
UF
IDAHO
7:00pm Tonight
OKLA
LATU
7:10pm Tonight
KST
SAUST
7:30pm Tonight
USC
FRES
7:30pm Tonight
MSST
SMISS
8:00pm Tonight
OKST
FSU
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
UNT
8:00pm Tonight
NMU
UTEP
9:00pm Tonight
LSU
WISC
10:30pm Tonight
OREG
SD
10:30pm Tonight
HAW
WASH
Final
NOR 0
DUR 1
 
Final
NOR 1
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
6:00pm Tonight
DUKE
ELON
 
8:00pm Tonight
ECU
NCCU