San Diego, CA – Ian Kennedy tossed seven strong innings to help the San Diego Padres avoid a three-game sweep with a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Kennedy (2-1) gave up just four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts while Yonder Alonso drove in both runs for the Padres, who had dropped the first two games of this set and scored just four runs in the series.
"As the game went on I felt better with my curveball," said Kennedy. "The fastball started coming down and when that comes down everything else starts to work."
Gerrit Cole (6-6) was the hard-luck loser for giving up two runs on 10 hits and five strikeouts over six innings for the Pirates, who saw their lead in the NL Central fall to just one game over St. Louis. Andrew McCutchen drove in a run in the eighth.
"I just felt like I let a good opportunity slip away," said Cole. "We had a chance coming in here to take a sweep and I feel like I let the team down."
San Diego pushed a run across in the first as Will Venable led off with a double, moved to third on a Chris Denorfia groundout and came home thanks to Yonder Alonso's sac fly for a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth, the Padres made it a 2-0 game as Denorfia singled with two outs, quickly stole second and scored on an Alonso single.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases with two outs in the first, but Kennedy struck out Garrett Jones to end the frame.
That was the only trouble he got into the rest of the game as he kept the Pirates from getting another runner to second through the rest of his start.
Luke Gregerson gave up a one-out walk to Felix Pie in the eighth. Pie then moved to second on a Neil Walker groundout, took third on a passed ball and scored thanks to McCutchen's sac fly to make it a 2-1 game.
Huston Street, though, worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 24th save of the season.
These two teams will meet in Pittsburgh from Sept. 16-19 ... The Padres have off on Thursday and will start a three-game set versus the Cubs on Friday ... Pittsburgh goes to San Francisco for a four-game series starting on Thursday ... Kennedy improved to 2-1 in five starts against Pittsburgh.