SAN DIEGO — Who would break first? Would the Padre hitters break out of their slump? Or would the San Diego pitchers--who have been nearly flawless lately--finally allow a few runs?
It was the latter Monday night at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
Final: Pirates 3, Padres 1.
With one out and runners on first and third in the 10th, Pirate first baseman Sid Bream blasted a 2-2 slider from reliever Goose Gossage deep in the right-field seats to break a scoreless tie. That made it 3-0 Pirates.
The Padres almost tied it in the bottom of the 10th when pinch-hitter Carmelo Martinez hit a long fly to left-center with two runners on. However, the ball was caught near the warning track and resulted in a sacrifice fly.
Cecilio Guante struck out Marvell Wynne to end the game.
The Padres have scored only 11 runs in their last five games.
Guante (3-1) got the win, and Gossage (4-4) took the loss.
A crowd of 28,366 fans saw excellent pitching from both sides. The Padres have allowed just nine runs in their last five games and the starters have given up just four runs in 33 innings.
That would be great news for the Padres if Eric Show didn't have to leave Monday's game in the fifth inning because his right elbow tightened up.
Padre Manager Steve Boros said, "Eric threw the ball better for four innings than he had in Houston. I was encouraged by the way he threw it early and discouraged by what happened in the fifth. Show just could not throw the ball well in the fifth inning."
Two superb right-handed pitchers started. The difference is that one pitched eight innings--which is his pattern. And the other lasted only 4 innings--which is becoming his pattern.
Show's five-inning barrier may force the Padres to come up with another starting pitcher. And the Pirates have just the guy who interests the Padres.
He is the much-coveted Rick Rhoden, whom the Padres have been trying to acquire since spring training.
Monday night, Rhoden (9-4) threw eight scoreless innings, allowing just four hits, walking three and striking out five.
"Rhoden was the June Pitcher of the Month and now it appears he's trying to become the July Pitcher of the Month," Boros said.
Rhoden has allowed just four earned runs in his last 35 innings, has won seven of his last eight decisions and had three straight complete games coming into Monday night's game.
When asked about his discussions with Syd Thrift, Pirate general manager, regarding a trade for Rhoden, Padre general manager Jack McKeon said: "I've talked to him (Thrift) more than I've talked to my wife since the start of spring training."
Thrift was at Monday's game, but there is no deal to report.
For Show, the frustration continues. Pitching with a sore right elbow, which is officially diagnosed as flexor tendinitis, Show pitched 4 shutout innings. He allowed just three hits, walked three and struck out four.
Despite pitching with a extra day of rest, Show's right elbow tightened between the fourth and fifth innings. He had to leave a scoreless game after walking Bonds with two out in the fifth.
In his four previous starts--all wins--Show was forced to leave the game early because of elbow troubles. He left the first two games after seven innings and the last two after five innings. Show has an earned run average of 1.26 in 28 innings in his last five starts.
But the elbow continues to bother Show. Monday night, he couldn't even last five innings.
Meanwhile, his counterpart continues to have a brilliant season.
While the Pirates stranded seven runners through the first six innings against Show and Gene Walter (1 scoreless innings), the Padres didn't stage their first threat until the seventh.
With two out, Garry Templeton singled to right. After Templeton stole second, Rhoden walked Graig Nettles and Terry Kennedy on 3-2 pitches.
It was up to Tim Flannery, who had a .321 career average (9 for 28) against Rhoden. Flannery bounced to second.
The Pirates had runners on first and third and nobody out in the ninth against Gossage, but failed to score.
It was a different story one inning later.