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Padres win as Young just misses no-hitter

Sep 23, 2006 - 4:48 AM SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- Chris Young got tired of leaving games without a decision. He made sure it didn't happen again, and nearly made history in the process.

The 6-10 Young stood tall in every way, coming within two outs of a no-hitter to lead the San Diego Padres to a 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The 27-year-old righthander struck out six and walked two before allowing a two-run homer by Joe Randa to straightaway center field.

"It probably didn't cross my mind until the seventh inning," Young said. "I didn't want to let it affect me and I never got too far ahead of myself. At that point (in the ninth), I really didn't think about being tired, just with the adrenaline and the crowd behind me. I had great fan support and made it a lot of fun being out there."

"Pinch hitting and coming into a situation like that, you just try to have a good at-bat, and I hit the ball high enough," Randa said. "You feel bad because the guy has worked that hard to get that far. But we're all professionals just trying to do our jobs and that's the way this game goes sometimes."

Young (11-4), who has flirted with a no-hitter three times this season, had six no-decisions in his previous seven starts, winning the only decision. He has not lost since August 4.

A former basketball player at Princeton, Young took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 30. In his subsequent start, he threw 5 1/3 hitless innings against these same Pirates.

"It's all about Chris Young," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "He just settled in and the pattern seemed to be very similar to what we saw in Pittsburgh. Obviously, he throws strikes up in the zone. I can't speak for the rest of the league, but against us he's gotten away with it."

Acquired in an offseason trade with the Texas Rangers, Young set down the first 17 batters before pinch hitter Rajai Davis drew a two-out walk in the sixth inning. He faced the minimum of 24 batters entering the ninth.

"What a job he did," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "He was very, very efficient and hitting all of his spots. He's been throwing the ball well all year and he certainly did the job for us tonight. That's a tough one for any pitcher, a no-hitter and losing it in the ninth."

San Diego remains one of four major league teams, along with the the New York Mets, Rockies and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, without a no-hitter. It was the closest a Padres pitcher came since Steve Arlin worked 8 2/3 innings without allowing a hit against Philadelphia on July 18, 1972.

"(Young) had some great stuff," Padres catcher Mike Piazza said. "It was just one of those frustrating things. After we got the first out in the ninth, I thought it he really had a chance. It's frustrating, because you hate to get that close and lose it."

After Young walked Jack Wilson with two outs in the ninth, rookie Cla Meredith came on to strike out Freddy Sanchez for the final out.

Adrian Gonzalez homered and drove in three runs as the first-place Padres (81-72) remained one-half game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers (81-73) in the National League West Division race.

"That's the most exciting part, we're in first place," Young said. "When we get up tomorrow, we'll be in first place no matter what, and that's what counts."

Gonzalez belted a two-run shot in the third for a 3-0 lead and Todd Walker added a solo shot in the sixth. The Padres put it out of reach in the seventh, when Gonzalez singled home Piazza and scored on Ben Johnson's triple.

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