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ARI@PIT: Cole breaks down outing in win vs. D-backs

It sure has been a long time, but the Pirates are hoping to do something on Wednesday that they haven't done in over 10 years.

Pittsburgh is looking for a three-game sweep of the Padres at Petco Park, a feat the team hasn't accomplished since April 29-May 1, 2003.

Rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole takes the hill for the Bucs, seeking his seventh win this season. Cole will be pitching in front of his UCLA coach, John Savage, who will be watching him throw in the Majors for the first time.

Cole snapped his two-game losing streak in his previous start, allowing just two runs on five hits in six innings against the D-backs. It marked the 11th time in 12 starts that he's allowed three runs or fewer.

"After they scored, [Cole] seemed to find the command he needed," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said after the game. "The breaking ball came into play far more. He was able to get the ball in on some right-handed hitters with his arm-side fastball. He settled down and finished strong. We needed him to get us to the sixth, and he was able to do that."

Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy gets the nod for the Padres. The right-hander is coming off his worst start since joining San Diego at the Trade Deadline.

He allowed three home runs and four walks to the Mets, which contributed to his undoing last Friday. In just 4 2/3 innings, he allowed five runs on seven hits for his ninth loss of the season.

"I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be all night," Kennedy said after the start. "You talk about the ballpark [playing big] ... but if you make mistakes anywhere, they will go out. Overall, my command was kind of spotty."

The high walk total was something that surprised manager Bud Black.

"That wasn't Ian Kennedy," Black said after the game.

Pirates: Marte a late scratch
• Left-fielder Starling Marte was a late scratch from Tuesday's game against the Padres because of a contusion on his right hand.

Hurdle was hoping to have his leadoff hitter back after he sat out Monday's game, but Marte was still in pain during early workouts.

"Still sore," Marte said. "Tried throwing and gripping a bat. Not good. Maybe later in the game, off the bench."

Jose Tabata replaced Marte in left and at the top of the order.

Padres: Blanks close to rehab stint with Triple-A
• While Black isn't ruling out a weekend rehab assignment for Kyle Blanks, the manager said early next week is more likely.

Blanks tested his Achilles on Monday and felt no pain afterward, just a little bit of expected soreness.

"The test isn't necessarily the day of, but it's the day after and the days following," Blanks said on Tuesday. "Today I feel fine. I'm ready to get going again."

Blanks said he'd like to be playing in games in five to seven days. If he returns next Monday in Tucson, he'd probably have a maximum of a week of rehab since the Triple-A Padres' season ends Sept. 2.

Worth noting
• The Pirates are 32-29 on the road this season. That makes them one of four National League teams to have a winning record on the road.

• Padres outfielder Will Venable is just one of six players in the Majors with at least 17 home runs and 14 stolen bases. Comments