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Pirates 1-hit by pitcher Cashner, fall to Padres

| Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, 9:48 p.m.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner delivers the ball against the Pirates at PNC Park Monday, September 16, 2013. Cashner faced the minimum 27 batters, allowing only one hit as he won the game 2-0.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Pirates catcher Russell Martin can't prevent the Padres' Andrew Cashner from scoring in the seventh inning at PNC Park on Monday, September 16, 2013
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner delivers against the Pirates on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, at PNC Park.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett delivers against the Padres on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, at PNC Park.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Pirates shortstop comes up shy in stopping a Padres single at PNC Park during the second-inning Monday, September 16, 2013
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner is safe at second as the Pirates' Clint Barmes takes the throw during the fifth inning Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, at PNC Park.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
The Padres Ronny Cedeno scores the first run as Pirates catcher Russell MArtin handles the throw in the seventh-inning at PNC Park Monday, September 16, 2013
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
The Padres Rene Rivera is forced out at second by Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes inthe fifth inning at PNC Park Monday, September 16, 2013
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett delivers against the Padres on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, at PNC Park.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett delivers the ball against the Padres at PNC Park Monday, September 16, 2013. Burnett took the loss as the Pirates fell 2-0.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
The Pirates' Pedro Alvarez walks back empty handed after a late-inning strikeout against the Padres at PNC Park Monday, September 16, 2013. The Pirates lost 2-0.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Andrew McCutchen's hair flies on a swing and a miss against the Padres at PNC Park Monday, September 16, 2013. The Pirates fell 2-0.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Pirates catcher Russell Martin can't prevent the Padres' Andrew Cashner from scoring in the seventh-inning at PNC Park Monday, September 16, 2013. The Padres won 2-0.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes makes a seventh-inning throw against the Padres at PNC Park Monday, September 16, 2013. The Padres won 2-0.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
A jubilant Andrew Cashner celebrates upon scoring as he passes Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett at PNC Park Monday, September 16, 2013. The Padres won 2-0.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Pirates fans applaud A.J. Burnett as he is pulled in the seventh inning at PNC Park Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. Burnett gave up 2 runs in a 2-0 loss to the Padres.

The Pirates had won six of their previous seven games and were zeroing in on a playoff berth when they rolled into Monday's game against the Padres.

But right-hander Andrew Cashner put the Pirates' countdown on hold.

Cashner was perfect through six innings and finished with a one-hitter. The Padres scraped up two runs against right-hander A.J. Burnett and held off the Pirates, 2-0.

The Pirates' lone baserunner was erased on a double play.

“Games like this happen,” said Neil Walker, who grounded out twice and flew out once. “Unfortunately, it happened tonight to us.”

The Pirates' magic number to clinch at least a wild-card berth remains at six.

Cashner (10-8) is the first Padres pitcher to face the minimum 27 batters in a shutout. He retired the first 18 batters he faced on five strikeouts, nine grounders, an infield liner and three easy fly balls to the outfield.

“I thought I had a good chance” for a perfect game, Cashner said.

Jose Tabata broke up Cashner's bid for history — no Padres pitcher has thrown a no-hitter — by drilling a leadoff single in the seventh.

Cashner needed only 97 pitches to navigate nine innings. He did not walk a batter and he struck out a season-high seven for the fourth consecutive start.

Before the game, Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley told Cashner to go to his curveball early and often.

“This is a team that doesn't hit curveballs well,” Cashner said. “I kept throwing my curveball, and it worked out.”

Cashner made things happen when he wasn't pitching, too. He reached base twice, scored a run and even stole a base. It was his second steal of the year, making him one of five pitchers in the past 10 years to have more than one steal in a season.

Cashner broke into the majors in 2010 with the Cubs and was used mostly as a reliever in his first two seasons. He was traded to the Padres after the 2011 season.

Eighteen of his 25 outings have been quality starts, which is tied for the team lead.

“He's a good, good young pitcher,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “A power arm. Not only was the stuff sharp, he was very efficient. He was throwing strikes all night long.”

Burnett (8-11) buzzed through the first three innings, whiffing five of the first 10 batters he faced.

He did it on 35 pitches, 26 of which were strikes.

The Padres put five runners on base in the fourth through sixth innings, but Burnett turned them away.

The Padres finally broke through in the seventh. Ronny Cedeno and Rene Rivera singled. Cashner bunted into a fielder's choice, forcing Rivera out at second base.

Will Venable's sacrifice fly scored Cedeno. Alexi Amarista was hit by a pitch to cap a nine-pitch at-bat, and Jed Gyorko lined an RBI single to left.

Burnett gave up six hits, walked three and struck out eight. He insisted he did not run out of steam in the seventh.

“I felt fine,” Burnett said. “They hit some balls in the hole.”

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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