San Diego used another grand slam and plenty of hits to pile up a Baker’s Dozen on Paul Maholm and the Pirates bullpen. Cory Luebke was money on the bump and at the dish. The Pirates have dropped nine straight.
The Padres jumped out in front in the second. Orlando Hudson singled and one out later scored when Kyle Blanks tripled. Rob Johnson lifted a fly ball that scored Blanks from third.
Hudson got it going again in the fourth. He singled leading off and was knocked to third on a double from Aaron Cunningham. Johnson doubled them both in for his second and third RBI of the night. Johnson then stole third. With two away, Cameron Maybin hit a routine grounder to Ronny Cedeno at short. I saw something I’ve never seen ever in my life – Maybin ran hard out of the box and Cedeno non-chalanted the play, allowing Maybin to beat the throw. Johnson scored to make it 5-0.
Suddenly trailing badly, the offense showed signs of life against Cory Luebke in the fourth. Matt Diaz hit a lead off double. Neil Walker battled and grounded a single up the middle to score him. But Ryan Ludwick, Steve Pearce and Brandon Wood were retired without incident. That would be all the scoring Pittsburgh would manage against Luebke.
Maholm retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth. The seventh would be the game. Luebke singled to lead off the inning. He moved to second on a ground ball out and scored on a two out single from Chase Headley. That would be the last act of Maholm’s night. He exited in favor of Chris Resop. The fun didn’t stop for San Diego. Jesus Guzman singled. Hudson singled to score Headley and a walk to Will Venable loaded the bases. Kyle Blanks treated Resop in a rude fashion by clobbering a grand slam to make it 11-1 Padres.
Jason Bartlett and Guzman had RBIs in the eight against Joe Beimel. Garrett Jones hit a pinch hit solo homer in the eighth off rookie Erik Hamren. That’s how the drubbing would end – 13-2 in favor of San Diego.
Maholm was the loser. He allowed seven runs on ten hits in 6 2/3 innings. He had one walk and five strikeouts. Luebke allowed one run in seven innings. He gave up one run on five hits with no walks with a career-best nine strikeouts.
Walker had two hits.
Maholm had his worst outing of the year.
The bullpen was ineffective.
The offense scored only twice.
Andrew McCutchen was picked off after leading off the sixth with a single.
In four prior career starts, Maholm had never beaten San Diego. He came into the game 0-3. Luebke had pitched three scoreless innings of relief against Pittsburgh in his only other appearance against them.
The closest I ever saw anyone beating out a routine grounder to third prior to Maybin doing it was Eric Davis’ Major League debut back in 1984. Davis was called up and played on 5/19/84 without a name on the back of his #55 jersey. In a 9-1 loss to St. Louis, he was called on to pinch hit for Bob Owchinko. He hit a routine grounder to Ozzie Smith at short against Joaquin Andujar. You could almost see Smith think ‘Oh no!’ as he looked up and realized Davis was motoring down the line. The throw beat him by thismuch. Eric Davis is one of my all-time favorites. People in Cincinnati never appreciated his greatness during his first time through. He was powerful and graceful and gracious. He still looks like he could play today.
Johnson previously recorded three RBI in two other games and none since 2009.
This was the first career grand slam for Blanks. You have to go back to the Fred McGriff (8/13-14/91) era to find the last time the Friars poked salamis in consecutive days and McGriff had both of them.
This was the second time Blanks drove in five runs in a game.
Luebke had two hits after coming into the game with only one career hit.
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