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Johnson's homer lifts Padres over Pirates

May 4, 2011 - 7:05 AM San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Rob Johnson hit a go-ahead solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning, lifting the Padres to a 6-5 win over the Pirates to even their three-game series.

Brandon Wood drew a leadoff walk against San Diego closer Heath Bell in the ninth and went to second base on Ronny Cedeno's bunt, putting the tying run in scoring position. But Wood was thrown out by Johnson as he tried to take third base on a pitch in the dirt.

Bell then struck out Ryan Doumit for his 41st consecutive save, tying Trevor Hoffman for the club record.

Johnson worked a full count against Joe Beimel (0-1) and knocked the eighth pitch of the at bat -- a hanging breaking ball -- deep into the left field seats for his first homer of the season.

"I was just telling myself to stay back. He finally hung one and I put a good swing on it," said Johnson.

San Diego also got solo homers from starting pitcher Mat Latos and Eric Patterson, improving to 4-8 in their last 12 games. Mike Adams (1-0) worked around a single to pitch a scoreless eighth, earning the win.

Latos, who carried an 0-4 record into the game, pitched six innings and left with a 3-2 lead, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out five.

The Pirates rallied for three runs in the seventh against Luke Gregerson. Matt Diaz had a pinch-hit, RBI double and Andrew McCutchen delivered a two-run single, giving Pittsburgh a 5-3 lead before Chad Qualls came in to get the final out.

But the Padres came back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run rally sparked by back-to-back singles from Chris Denorfia and Jason Bartlett. Beimel relieved Michael Crotta after the second hit, but gave up a bunt single to Eric Patterson that loaded the bases.

Beimel walked Ryan Ludwick to score the first run, and San Diego scored again when Jorge Cantu grounded into a double play, making it 5-5 and setting the stage an inning later for Johnson to knock in the eventual game-winner.

Trying to spark a Pirates rally in the ninth, Wood took off for third base when Bell bounced a pitch in the dirt. But Johnson blocked the pitch, then gunned a perfect throw to third, getting Wood easily.

"He pushed the envelope a little bit and the catcher made a nice play," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.

"That's just how I learned to play baseball," said Wood. "It's just a reaction to take off. I'll do it again unless Clint tells me otherwise."

The Pirates were coming off a 4-3 win in the opener of the series on Monday, which snapped a nine-game losing streak to San Diego. They got four runs in the first inning of that game, then scored two in the first inning Tuesday when Neil Walker doubled in McCutchen and Xavier Paul.

Latos knocked a 2-2 pitch from Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens off the second deck in left field to open the third inning. Patterson homered two batters later and Cameron Maybin added an RBI single to give the Padres a 3-2 lead.

Karstens pitched into the fifth and was pulled after putting the first two batters on. He gave up three runs on six hits and two walks, striking out four.

Game Notes

It was Bell's seventh save of the season...The Pirates are 3-2 on a six-game road trip...San Diego won despite going just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.






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  • Rob Johnson one-out, solo Home Run (1) to left center. Chase Headley due up.

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  • Chase Headley replaces Chad Qualls, playing third base and batting fourth.

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  • Ryan Ludwick walked. Chris Denorfia scored on the play. Bases loaded with none out and Jorge Cantu due up.

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  • Andrew McCutchen single to center scored Ronny Cedeno and Matt Diaz. Runner on first with one out and Xavier Paul due up.

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  • Pinch-Hitter Matt Diaz double to right center scored Chris Snyder. Runners on second and third with one out and Andrew McCutchen due up.

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  • Brad Hawpe grounded out second to first to end the inning.

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  • Eric Patterson one-out, solo Home Run (1) to center. Ryan Ludwick due up.

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  • Mat Latos lead-off Home Run (1) to left. Jason Bartlett due up.

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  • Neil Walker double to center scored Andrew McCutchen and Xavier Paul. Runner on second with one out and Lyle Overbay due up.

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