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Worley, Polanco lead Pirates past Padres, 2-1

Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates pitcher Vance Worley eludes a broken bat on a single by the Padres' Yonder Alonso during the second inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates pitcher Vance Worley eludes a broken bat on a single by the Padres' Yonder Alonso during the second inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison grimaces after he was caught stealing by the Padres' Evereth Cabrera during the fifth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison grimaces after he was caught stealing by the Padres' Evereth Cabrera during the fifth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - The Padres' Will Venable can't catch a triple by the Pirates' Josh Harrison during the first inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>The Padres' Will Venable can't catch a triple by the Pirates' Josh Harrison during the first inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates second baseman Jayson Nix leaps over the Padres' Will Venable while turning a double play during the second inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates second baseman Jayson Nix leaps over the Padres' Will Venable while turning a double play during the second inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates catcher Russell Martin (left) fist-bumps chairman of the board Bob Nutting in the dugout before a game against the Padres in August. Martin was a key free-agent acquisition two years ago, but he again is a free agent, and Nutting and the Pirates must determine how much they are willing to spend to try to keep him.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates catcher Russell Martin (left) fist-bumps chairman of the board Bob Nutting in the dugout before a game against the Padres in August. Martin was a key free-agent acquisition two years ago, but he again is a free agent, and Nutting and the Pirates must determine how much they are willing to spend to try to keep him.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison triples during the first inning against the Padres on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison triples during the first inning against the Padres on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates second baseman Jayson Nix makes a diving stop on a ball hit by the Padres' Alexi Amarista during the fifth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates second baseman Jayson Nix makes a diving stop on a ball hit by the Padres' Alexi Amarista during the fifth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - The Padres' Will Venable can't catch a triple by the Pirates' Josh Harrison during the first inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>The Padres' Will Venable can't catch a triple by the Pirates' Josh Harrison during the first inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - The Pirates' Gregory Polanco collides with the Padres' Evereth Cabrera on a stolen base during the first inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>The Pirates' Gregory Polanco collides with the Padres' Evereth Cabrera on a stolen base during the first inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates pitcher Vance Worley delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Padres on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates pitcher Vance Worley delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Padres on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates pitcher Vance Worley eludes a broken bat on a single by the Padres' Yonder Alonso during the second inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates pitcher Vance Worley eludes a broken bat on a single by the Padres' Yonder Alonso during the second inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - The Pirates' Gregory Polanco singles in a run during the second inning against the Padres on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>The Pirates' Gregory Polanco singles in a run during the second inning against the Padres on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - The Pirates' Josh Harrison is tended to by head trainer Todd Tomczyk after he was caught stealing during the fifth inning against the Padres on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>The Pirates' Josh Harrison is tended to by head trainer Todd Tomczyk after he was caught stealing during the fifth inning against the Padres on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates catcher Russell Martin turns a double play over the Padres' Evereth Cabrera during the sixth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates catcher Russell Martin turns a double play over the Padres' Evereth Cabrera during the sixth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates catcher Russell Martin turns a double play while avoiding a slide by the Padres' Evereth Cabrera during the sixth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates catcher Russell Martin turns a double play while avoiding a slide by the Padres' Evereth Cabrera during the sixth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates pitcher Vance Worley delivers to the Padres' Will Venable during the second inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates pitcher Vance Worley delivers to the Padres' Will Venable during the second inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - The Pirates' Gregory Polanco doubles against the Padres on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park. Even though Polanco was not on the Pirates' active roster Sunday, he still will be eligible to play in the postseason.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>The Pirates' Gregory Polanco doubles against the Padres on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park. Even though Polanco was not on the Pirates' active roster Sunday, he still will be eligible to play in the postseason.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates second baseman Jayson Nix makes a diving stop on a ball hit by the Padres' Alexi Amarista during the fifth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates second baseman Jayson Nix makes a diving stop on a ball hit by the Padres' Alexi Amarista during the fifth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates fans hold up Stand Up for Cancer signs during the seventh inning stretch of a game against the Padres Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates fans hold up Stand Up for Cancer signs during the seventh inning stretch of a game against the Padres Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates fans celebrate behind left fielder Travis Snider after defeating the Padres Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates fans celebrate behind left fielder Travis Snider after defeating the Padres Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates reliever Tony Watson records an out at first base on the Padres' Evereth Cabrera during the eighth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates reliever Tony Watson records an out at first base on the Padres' Evereth Cabrera during the eighth inning Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates closser Mark Melancon pitches in front of a sell-out crowd during the ninth inning against the Padres Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates closser Mark Melancon pitches in front of a sell-out crowd during the ninth inning against the Padres Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison singles during the third inning against the Padres Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison singles during the third inning against the Padres Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media - Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez works out at first base with Gaby Sanchez during batting practice Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez works out at first base with Gaby Sanchez during batting practice Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, at PNC Park.

Pirates/MLB Videos

Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, 9:54 p.m.
 

Vance Worley was his “Vanimal” self Friday night, and Gregory Polanco is counter-punching.

Worley dominated the San Diego Padres, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings, and Polanco went 3 for 4 to lead the Pirates to a 2-1 win in front of the 13th sellout of the season at PNC Park.

The Pirates (62-53) moved to a season-best nine games above .500. The Pirates moved a half-game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for second place in the NL Central and into wild-card position.

After Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said the league had “punched back” at their prized rookie, Polanco is again looking like the precocious impact player the Pirates hoped he would be.

After a four-RBI game Thursday against the Miami Marlins, Polanco drove in the tying run and scored the go-ahead run Friday. He has hit safely in eight of his past nine games.

“The foot is down early. The barrel is getting out in front, hitting ball where it's pitched,” Hurdle said. “We anticipated him having to battle and figure some things out. We also anticipated him finding his way back.”

In the first inning, Polanco demonstrated that speed never slumps.

After ripping a single to right to score Josh Harrison to tie the score 1-1 in the first — Harrison reached via a leadoff triple — Polanco stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw by Padres catcher Rene Rivera. Ike Davis scored Polanco with a sacrifice fly to deep right to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead after the first.

“I'm just watching my videos and seeing how they pitch me,” Polanco said. “I'm just doing what I was doing before.”

Polanco also ripped an Ian Kennedy fastball into the right-field corner for a double, and he singled in the fifth.

The two runs were all the support Worley (5-1) required. The other stretch of trouble came in the sixth, when the Padres loaded the bases with no outs. Worley induced Jedd Gyorko to ground into a 5-2-3 double play, and Yonder Alonso flied to left to end the threat. Each team wasted one bases-loaded, no-out opportunity.

“I just went after him,” Worley said. “I knew what I needed, and that was a ground ball.”

“We just couldn't get the big hit,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “We stressed Worley but couldn't break through.”

Worley was at his best when he struck out the side in the seventh.

The Pirates avoided a scare in the fifth inning. Harrison was caught stealing, and in the process Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera fell and rolled on Harrison's left ankle. Harrison, in severe pain, was slow to get up. He also injured his hand on the play. He walked from the field under his own power and came back out for the sixth inning.

“Toward the last inning (the ankle) stiffened up, the adrenaline wore down a little bit, but it's all right,” Harrison said. “I was able to finish the game, which is a good thing.”

Harrison again started instead of Pedro Alvarez at third base. Alvarez returned Friday from a stay on the bereavement list. He entered the game as a pinch hitter for Worley in the seventh and popped out to third. Alvarez left the clubhouse without speaking to reporters.

The Pirates' embattled bullpen secured the victory. Tony Watson pitched a scoreless eighth, and Mark Melancon struck out the side in the ninth for his 21st save.

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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