PITTSBURGH -- Backed by early run support from Wil Myers and a late homer from Dusty Coleman, Dinelson Lamet baffled Pirates hitters for the second time in eight days and led the Padres to a 5-2 win Saturday night at PNC Park.
Facing Pittsburgh continued to agree with Lamet, who struck out five and held the Bucs to one hit over 5 2/3 innings only a week after beating them with six strong innings in San Diego. Lamet has posted a 1.96 ERA over his last three outings, all victories.
"[Lamet]'s been great the last number of times out," Padres manager Andy Green said. "His stuff is good enough that he can see a team three, four or five times and it's still hard to make adjustments."
Lamet carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning on July 29 at Petco Park and into the fourth on Saturday. Josh Bell recorded the Pirates' first hit of the night, a ground ball to right. Even the Bucs' outs weren't all that loud; they grounded out seven times and flied out just twice. Lamet combined to strike out 12 over his two starts against Pittsburgh.
"We've seen him now [11 2/3] innings, got three hits," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "That's pretty good. We haven't been able to do much with him."
The Pirates' loss, combined with the Cubs' 7-4 win over the Nationals, dropped them 5 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central race.
Myers provided the power for Lamet by driving in the Padres' first three runs against Gerrit Cole. The Pirates made things interesting in the seventh, scoring two runs and loading the bases for Andrew McCutchen. But Craig Stammen got McCutchen to pop out to thwart Pittsburgh's rally. Coleman gave closer Brad Hand a comfortable lead, ripping a two-run homer to center off reliever Daniel Hudson.
Any lead seems comfortable with the way Hand has been pitching recently. Hand hasn't allowed a run since June 10, running up the Majors' longest active scoreless streak at 21 1/3 innings.
"No pressure situation affects [Hand] at all," Green said. "I love having him out there in any situation."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Wil power: Myers entered the night batting just .185 over his last 35 games, a skid that reached back to June 19. If Saturday was any indication, he may be snapping out of that slump. Myers reached base in his first four plate appearances, doubled in a run in the third and homered in the fifth off Cole. Myers got all of Cole's first-pitch fastball in the fifth, crushing it 110.2 mph, according to Statcast™, to center field for his 21st homer.
"[Myers] felt very good going into the game today," Green said. "The ball he hit out to dead center was probably the lowest, hardest home run I have ever seen hit."
Well, it could have been worse: Cole put together a quality start, his sixth in a row, despite pitching in and out of trouble on a few occasions. After recording two quick outs in the first, he loaded the bases before striking out Hector Sanchez with a 97-mph fastball. It could have gotten out of hand again in the fourth, when Cole found himself with one out and runners on second and third. But he calmly defused the jam, inducing a popout, a comebacker and a shallow flyout to escape unscathed.
"The first, I didn't really feel like things got out of hand too much," Cole said. "In the fourth, got into that on just not-great execution, but turned the volume up on the next couple of outs.
"They made an adjustment since the last time I saw them, especially with sliders early in the count at the bottom of the zone. Once we were able to get deeper into the ballgame, I found the bottom of the zone with the fastball. I was able to get them back on that. They're really aggressive and they're pretty good hitters. I thought it was good work tonight."
"I think it has a little bit of a cut action. I think that's probably the main thing. The hitters are probably waiting for it to break a little more and when it doesn't it still has that cut. They think it's going to be there in the zone." -- Lamet, on why his slider has been effective
"Myers is a good hitter. This guy was Rookie of the Year. We're not talking about somebody that just showed up that we don't know about. He got a couple days' rest against us out there because he had been in a down period. He's going to come out of it because he's a good player and he's a good hitter. Nobody gets in the box more aggressive than this kid does, and he swings the bat. He saw some things he liked tonight and he didn't miss them." -- Hurdle
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
For all the things McCutchen has accomplished in his career, he is still searching for a grand slam. His bases-loaded popout in the seventh was his 95th career plate appearance with the bases loaded. He has 20 hits, 10 walks and 62 RBIs in those situations -- with six of the hits, four of the walks and 20 of the RBIs coming in his 2009 rookie campaign -- but only four extra-base hits: two doubles and a triple.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres:Clayton Richard will get the call as the Padres conclude their three-game series against the Pirates on Sunday at 10:35 a.m. PT at PNC Park. The veteran lefty has been the innings-eater the Padres hoped for this season. He's faced more batters (588) than anyone else in the NL. Richard has surrendered the most hits among NL pitchers, but he also leads the league in GIDPs and ground-ball rate.
Pirates:Jameson Taillon will try to get back on track as the Pirates eye a series win against the Padres at 1:35 p.m. ET on Sunday. Taillon, who entered the All-Star break with a 2.73 ERA, has given up 18 runs on 20 hits in 6 2/3 innings over his last two starts. Sean Rodriguez, acquired in a trade Saturday, is expected to join the Bucs before the game.