video thumbnail

McDonald two-hits Cards over six to win 11th

Andrew Werner wasn't expecting to make his first Major League start with the Padres anytime soon.

In his most recent outing for Triple-A Tucson -- which Werner described as "probably my worst one of the year" -- the left-hander was hit for eight runs (five earned) over 4 1/3 innings.

But that apparently didn't dissuade the Padres, who scheduled Werner to make his big league debut on Wednesday against James McDonald and the Pirates. The two starters will meet in the finale of a three-game series at Petco Park, where San Diego will be looking to finish off the sweep.

According to Padres manager Bud Black, Werner has "a solid fastball in the high 80s, a good changeup. He's a strike-thrower and he attacks and doesn't back down."

Werner will need to keep his butterflies at bay to compete with McDonald, who brings an 11-5 record and 3.61 ERA into the matchup.

The Pirates right-hander, who had struggled in the season's second half, was stellar in his last outing, during which he allowed two hits to St. Louis over six scoreless innings. He also struck out seven batters.

"That was an impressive outing -- and a huge step forward for us," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're going to need him for us to get something done this year."

McDonald is one strikeout away from 400 in his career and nine short of the career-high 142 he racked up last year. Facing the Padres on Aug. 10, McDonald blew a six-run lead, as San Diego came back and won, 9-8.

Pirates: Relievers McCutchen and Qualls return
Before Tuesday's game in San Diego, the Pirates activated reliever Chad Qualls from the bereavement list and recalled reliever Daniel McCutchen from Triple-A Indianapolis, making room for each player by sending relief pitchers Kyle McPherson and Justin Wilson back to the Minors.

On Tuesday, Qualls surrendered a run in the eighth inning, and McCutchen entered in the 10th inning, during which he issued a leadoff walk before Chase Headley hit a towering walk-off shot off him to end the game.

• In his first appearance for Double-A Altoona, Jameson Taillon on Tuesday worked five scoreless innings and struck out six batters. He allowed four hits with no walks while throwing 67 pitches, 46 of which were strikes. Taillon is ranked by as the top prospect in the Pirates organization and fifth-best in all of baseball.

Padres: Cabrera producing in leadoff role
Before Sunday, Everth Cabrera hadn't hit leadoff for the Padres all year. But that's where Black has placed him in the lineup over the last three days -- all Padres wins -- and Cabrera had delivered, batting .500 (8-for-16) with two stolen bases, two RBIs and a run scored.

"It's more about the potential," Black said. "Based on the speed component, Cabbie has the potential to impact the opponent with his basestealing. Having that at the top of the order is advantageous for our club."

• Headley's walk-off home run in the 10th inning on Tuesday gave him nine homers and 26 RBIs in August. In five games against Pittsburgh this season, Headley has four homers and 11 RBIs.

Worth noting
• The Padres have won three straight, while the Pirates have dropped two in a row.

• San Diego is 17-3 against Pittsburgh over the teams' past 20 meetings. Comments