San Diego, CA (Sports Network) – Jon Garland and three relievers combined to pitch a shutout while Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run homer, as the San Diego Padres blanked the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-0, in the finale of a three-game series at Petco Park.
Garland (11-8) tossed six innings and allowed only one hit with five strikeouts for the Padres, who swept the series and maintained their 2 1/2 game over San Francisco atop the NL West standings. Miguel Tejada added an RBI in the victory.
Zach Duke started on the mound and suffered the loss for the Pirates, who have dropped four straight and six of their last eight games overall. Duke (5-11) was charged with all three runs — two earned — on six hits with two strikeouts and three walks.
The Padres opened the scoring in the third inning. Garland led off with a base hit to center field and moved to second on a bunt by Jerry Hairston, Jr. Tejada then stepped to the plate and stroked an RBI double to left field.
Ryan Doumit’s one-out double in the top of the fourth was Pittsburgh’s first hit of the night — one of only four total for the visitors — but groundouts sandwiched around an intentional walk kept the shutout going.
Garland was perfect in both the fifth and sixth innings before Ludwick’s 14th home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth gave the Padres a bit of breathing room. Adrian Gonzalez led off by reaching on an error by Argenis Diaz. The next batter was Ludwick, who turned on a fastball and lifted it over the wall in center field for a 3-0 advantage.
Luke Gregerson replaced Garland to start the seventh. He yielded a one-out single to Diaz, which was quickly erased when Andy LaRoche grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Gregerson got the first two outs in the eighth before Neil Walker singled. That brought Joe Thatcher in from the San Diego bullpen and Thatcher induced a fly out to left by Garrett Jones.
Heath Bell finished things off with a scoreless ninth for his 34th save of the season.
Garland lowered his 2010 earned run average to 3.41…This marked the first time in franchise history that the Padres have swept a season series with Pittsburgh. San Diego has also won nine straight overall versus the Bucs…The Padres open a key three-game series at San Francisco on Friday…Garland improved to 7-2 in 13 home starts this season.