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SD@PIT: Marquis blanks the Pirates with a two-hit gem

PITTSBURGH -- The Padres got a pitching gem from right-hander Jason Marquis and downed the Pirates, 5-0, before a sellout crowd of 39,485 at PNC Park on Saturday night.

Marquis flirted with a no-hitter into the seventh inning, when Travis Snider got an infield single off Marquis' glove, as well as Alexi Amarista's glove at second. The Padres remain the last team in the Major Leagues without a no-hitter in their history.

"I knew it hit the mound, but that's when I put my head down and started running. Fortunately, I was able to get to the base before the ball," Snider said, describing his hit. "He gets ahead, and then he executes his pitches, stays down in the zone, gets guys to expand, and you saw a lot of weak ground balls."

It was the Padres' sixth straight win, and their 11th win in a row at PNC Park. San Diego is 15-2 in its last 17 games against the Pirates.

The 33-year-old Marquis notched his 13th career win against the Pirates, tossing a complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits and one walk. With the win he is now 6-6 with the Padres this season. The victory was his eighth career complete game, and fifth career shutout.

"It was very important to get the complete game," Marquis said. "You always want to finish what you start. It was my first one this year, and I'm excited about that. It's fun to be standing on the mound when the game's over."

"He threw the ball well," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I think right from the beginning you could see the movement on the fastball and the sinker, and I think the slider came and went a little bit, but when he needed to throw a good one he did. I think it was all about the getting the grounder and keeping the ball down. When he had to throw a strike he did. It was fundamental pitching, he made good pitches."

"I got away with a few mistakes," Marquis explained. "But there weren't too many. We pretty much had the game plan we wanted -- and we stick to it -- and we were able to do that, we didn't really have to get away from it. We did a good job of being on the same page."

"He can be very efficient with the late life. You've got to get under that ball, or stay inside of it," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who coached Marquis briefly three years ago in Colorado. "I've seen that, and it can be challenging, because you keep wanting to hit, but you don't hit anything hard. And you've really got to commit to getting that ball up, and staying inside of it, and getting underneath it. Easier said than done, though.

"It's the late life, it's the late movement, staying off the barrel, staying down. A lot of ground balls from our side, and just not many balls squared up at all."

Pirates starter A.J. Burnett was tagged with the loss, falling to 14-4 on the season. The right-hander surrendered five runs (four earned) on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings and he struck out 10.

Padres' third baseman Chase Headley continued his assault on Pirates pitching, as he launched his third home run of the series and 18th of 2012 to give the Padres a 1-0 in the first. It was the third straight at-bat in which he had homered.

"I thought we did a really good job against Burnett," Headley stated. "He was tough, and I thought he had the best breaking ball that I'd seen all year, and he could throw it for strikes when he wanted to. I thought we put some really good at-bats against him, we were able to scratch a few out against him and we constantly had pressure on him."

In the third, Everth Cabrera tripled and scampered home on a RBI groundout by Headley, upping the Padres lead to 2-0. It was Headley's seventh RBI of the series.

In the fourth, Will Venable reached second on a two-base error by Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones. Cameron Maybin followed with a RBI single to give the Padres a 3-0 lead.

Venable led off the sixth with a solo blast, giving San Diego a 4-0 lead. It was Venable's seventh homer. With two outs Marquis singled, Amarista singled and then Burnett uncorked a wild pitch, moving runners to second and third. Cabrera drew a walk loading the bases. Headley picked up his third RBI of the night, when he drew a second straight walk, forcing in Marquis and upping the Padres lead to 5-0.

Marquis was never really in trouble, and he was the story on this night.

"He was outstanding, to throw the ball like he threw it was great," Headley said. "He was pounding the strike zone and throwing quality strikes. It makes our job easy when a guy pitches like that."

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