Sat, 02 Jul 2022

Before San Diego's Luke Voit hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning Friday night, the Padres had 18 singles in a row -- over a span of almost three full games.

"We've been down offensively," Padres manager Bob Melvin said. "Actually, I've felt like the last couple games where we had been dormant offensively."

But few teams have been tougher in late-and-close situations this season. And the Padres did it again Friday night, improving to 11-5 in one-run games while snapping a two-game losing streak with a 4-3 win against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.

On Saturday night, the Padres will roll out their "sure thing" in a bid to win the three-game series against the Pirates.

Former Pirate Joe Musgrove (5-0, 1.90 ERA) will start for the Pirates against JT Brubaker (0-4, 4.64) in a matchup of right-handers.

"You don't have to tell us about Joe Musgrove," Pirates manager Derek Shelton said earlier this month when Musgrove held his former teammates to one run on seven hits and no walks with eight strikeouts over seven innings in a 5-2 Padres win.

"We know how good Musgrove is," Shelton said.

And Musgrove has gotten better.

Musgrove has started eight games this season -- and the Padres have won them all.

He has yet to give up more than two earned runs in any start. He has a 0.942 WHIP this season, a .211 opponents' batting average and a .595 opponents' OPS.

And over his past four starts, Musgrove has given up five runs on 21 hits and seven walks with 21 strikeouts over 27 innings for a 1.67 ERA and a 1.037 WHIP.

"He's getting better and better," Melvin recently said of Musgrove. "He's added and uses a changeup. It's five pitches. And he's a huge hit at home."

Meanwhile, Brubaker will look for his first win of the season in his 10th start of the year. He has allowed 28 runs (22 earned) on 37 hits and 21 walks with 47 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-3, 28-year-old right-hander is averaging 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings this season. But he also is averaging less than 2 1/4 strikeouts per walk.

"The stuff is very good when it's harnessed," Shelton said of Brubaker.

Despite his personal record, the Pirates are 4-5 in games started by Brubaker -- who allowed one unearned run on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts over Colorado in his last outing.

In his first four starts this month, Brubaker has given up 11 runs (eight earned) on 18 hits and nine walks with 26 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings for a 3.22 ERA and a 1.209 WHIP.

--Field Level Media

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