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Padres seek to remain in first place as Pirates come to town

Sep 22, 2006 - 1:41 PM Pittsburgh (65-88) at San Diego (80-72) 10:05 pm EDT

SAN DIEGO (Ticker) - The San Diego Padres hope the Pittsburgh Pirates' run of playing spoiler ends now.

The Padres, clinging to first place by the slimmest of margins, open a three-game series with the improving Pirates on Friday.

San Diego leads Los Angeles by one-half game in the National League West Division. The Padres have 10 games remaining, while the Dodgers have nine contests left.

The Padres are coming off a series victory over Arizona, capped by Thursday's 3-1 triumph. Mike Cameron delivered a two-run triple and Trevor Hoffman picked up his 477th career save, moving within one of Lee Smith's all-time record.

San Diego also got some help from Pittsburgh, which took two of three at Dodger Stadium this week. The Pirates had their five-game winning streak snapped Thursday, a run that included three straight wins over the league-leading New York Mets and back-to-back victories against the Dodgers.

Opening their final home series of the year, the Padres will give the ball to Chris Young (10-5, 3.63 ERA). The righthander has not factored into the decision in six of his last seven starts but also has not lost since August 4.

Since that defeat to Washington, Young has surrendered three runs or fewer in each of his seven starts. He yielded just one hit in six scoreless innings of Sunday's 2-1 triumph vs. Los Angeles.

The Pirates counter with Tom Gorzelanny (2-3, 3.62), who has allowed two runs or fewer in six straight outings. The rookie lefthander spent a month on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis before yielding one run in four frames of Saturday's eventual 3-2 victory over the Mets.

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