Werner wins debut as Friars sweep Bucs

Werner wins debut as Friars sweep Bucs

Werner wins debut as Friars sweep Bucs
SAN DIEGO -- Each and every one of the 12 televisions inside of Kep's Sports Bar and Grill were tuned to one channel Wednesday, as 150 or so of Andrew Werner's friends and family gathered to watch his first Major League start for the Padres.

But not without a cost, though.

"I guess everyone who came in to watch, chipped in," Werner said, noting the bar in his hometown of Washington, Ill., purchased the MLB Extra Innings package just for this particular game.

As it turned out, this was must-see TV, as Werner, a 25-year-old left-hander, allowed two runs in six-plus innings as the Padres finished off a three-game sweep of the Pirates with a 4-2 win before a crowd of 20,311 at Petco Park.

Werner, who was signed out of a tryout camp in the fall of 2010, got 10 ground-ball outs, allowed five hits with four walks and two strikeouts in his debut.

It was a pretty stunning turn of events for Werner, who two days ago had no inclination that he would be headed to the big leagues while with Triple-A Tucson.

"Even when you're in Triple-A, you know you're close," Werner said. "But to actually get the call ... I had no clue."

Werner's good first impression wasn't lost on his manager, Bud Black, who had never seen Werner pitch in person before Wednesday.

"I liked it as it kept going," Black said. "The sinker had enough sink when it got to the hitting area and they [Pirates] couldn't square it up. And he kept the ball on the ground. He pitched his game. He did what he does best.

"He made a first impression that was very favorable."

The Padres (56-70) provided Werner with the equivalent of a soft landing with three runs in the first inning against Pirates pitcher James McDonald (11-6), who walked the first three batters he faced, Everth Cabrera, Will Venable and Chase Headley.

Carlos Quentin drove a pitch to the deepest part of the ballpark in left-center field for a two-run double. Mark Kotsay followed with a sacrifice fly to center field on an 0-2 pitch up in the strike zone for a three-run lead.

"That was great," Werner said. "I thought I can stay relaxed and trade an out for a run if I need to."

It turns out, he didn't need to. Werner (1-0) allowed one run over the first six innings before allowing a long home run to center field to Gaby Sanchez to start the seventh inning. After he walked Pedro Alvarez, Black came for him.

"There in the seventh, I was trying to get ahead. He's [Sanchez] a good hitter. Up until then, I felt like I was doing a good job changing speeds and getting a lot of ground balls."

From there, relief pitchers Brad Brach, Luke Gregerson and another rookie, Tom Layne, took care of the Pirates (67-57), with the left-handed Layne getting the last three outs for his first career save.

Black said that he went to Layne since the Pirates had two left-handed batters due up in the inning and because interim closer Dale Thayer had pitched the previous two days.

The Padres added a fourth run in the fifth inning when Quentin drove in a run with a single to right field, making it difficult for the Pirates -- who finished the season 1-5 against the Padres -- to mount anything that resembled a comeback.

But the story on Wednesday was Werner.

"He had just enough movement on the sinker and the changeup was a good pitch for him today and, like I said, he threw strikes. He pounded the zone," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

"You saw a left-hander that threw strikes, kept his fastball down, changed speeds very effectively and threw a lot of changeups."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.