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Padres Vs. Pirates: James McDonald Gives Up Big Lead In 9-8 Loss

The Pittsburgh Pirates suffered one of their tougher losses of the season on Friday night, falling 9-8 to the Padres to open their weekend series at PNC Park. The Bucs built a six-run lead with a big fourth-inning rally but starter James McDonald's woes continued when he promptly gave it back to the Pads in the next half-inning. With a 7-1 lead, McDonald surrendered six runs in the top of the fifth before he was pulled for Chris Resop. A walk to Cameron Maybin was then followed by five straight San Diego hits. A two-run double by pinch hitter Jesus Guzman and a three-run homer by Chase Headley were the big blows. The Headley homer ended McDonald's night but not before he was credited with seven earned runs.

The big San Diego rally erased the efforts of the Bucs offense, which put a five-spot up in the bottom of the fourth. The Pirates were teeing off on starter Edinson Volquez and Travis Snider caught a pitch and drove it over the right field wall for a three-run homer. That homer was followed by a walk to Andrew McCutchen, ending his night and bringing on Alex Hinshaw. But the reliever quickly yielded a double to Pedro Alvarez that scored two more to put another dent in Volquez's ERA.

With the score tied at 7-7, the Bucs would regain the lead on a Rod Barajas clutch single that scored Garrett Jones from third. It looked like Pittsburgh might rebound from McDonald's implosion and get to the San Diego bullpen. But that threat died and they would not score again. Holding a precarious one-run lead, reliever Tony Watson served one up to Headley that landed over the left-field fence. The decisive blow scored two and handed the Pads the 9-8 win. The Bucs could not rally back over their final three at-bats as the frustrating night came to a close.

A.J. Burnett will now try to pick up the staff and even the series on Saturday against Jason Marquis

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Padres, there's Gaslamp Ball.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.