Saturday, April 25, 2009

Padres-Pirates: Giles' Walkoff Single Lifts Padres Over Pirates

Brian Giles has been in one of his biggest slumps and in the position of the batting order that he currently occupies, it's created offensive trouble for the Padres.

But on Friday night, Giles picked the right time to come through for San Diego. In the eleventh inning, with Chris Burke on second base and David Eckstein on first, Giles ripped a Matt Capps fastball to right field, scoring Burke and sending the Padres and their fans home happy with a 4-3 victory. That win snapps the Padres' three game losing streak and also slowed the Pirates fast start, winning five of their first six including a sweep of the Florida Marlins.

Pirates' starter Ian Snell wasted no time in helping his own cause, hitting an RBI single in the second inning to give the Pirates an early 1-0 lead.

That lead was short lived as Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez hammered a first pitch fastball from Snell over the left center field wall for a solo home run. It was his sixth home run of the year and third in his last five games. Gonzalez is currently riding a six game hit streak and even more impressive than that, has at least one hit in fourteen of the Padres' sixteen games, going hitless just twice all season long.

Padres' starter Kevin Correia looked like he was going to give his bullpen a break after all the work they've had to do lately. His pitch count was a lot lower than his previous two starts and was given a 3-1 lead, but Correia couldn't hold it as the Pirates would come back to tie the game at 3-3 with two runs in the sixth inning. Correia would end his night pitching five innings and giving up three runs on just three hits, but walks got him trouble as the right hander issued four on the night.

The game would stay 3-3 into the eleventh inning. Padres' Chris Burke would draw a pinch hit walk and would steal second after Jody Gerut popped out. Padres' second baseman David Eckstein would also draw a walk and that brought up Brian Giles.

Pirates' reliever Matt Capps had already thrown Giles three straight fastballs, two of which Giles could only foul off. On the fourth one, Giles got all he needed of it, lining past Pirates' right fielder Eric Hinske, scoring Burke from second with the game winner.

It was a hit that Giles, who came into last night's game hitting .159, desperately needed. Time will only tell if this will be the start of the Brian Giles that Padre fans know or if this slump will continue. If it does, it may not be long before the Padres look to Triple-A outfielders Will Venable or Chad Huffman to take over.

The two teams will continue their three game set tonight at Petco Park. The Padres will have right hander Shawn Hill (1-0, 3.60) on the mound against Pirates left hander Zach Duke (2-1, 2.95). First pitch will be 7:05pm.

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