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Pads pass Pirates on Hairston's walk-off homer

• All for naught: Ian Snell had a solid performance for the Pirates, allowing one run on four hits while striking out five over seven innings. He did not factor in the decision.

• Hairston delivers ... for once: Hairston, who hit a game-ending homer in the 10th inning against San Francisco on Aug. 3, had been just 5-for-30 (.167) with two outs and runners in scoring position this season.

• Young & struggling: San Diego all-star Chris Young started for the Padres and was in danger of losing his fifth straight decision. He gave up three runs and five hits over six innings. he's 0-4 in his last nine starts, but 3-0 in his career against Pittsburgh.

• Hunt for October: San Diego won (as did Arizona), but the Padres deficit in the NL West remains at one game.

• Quotable: "I thought I hit it really good. I know I don't have that much power. In this ballpark, you never know unless you hit it really well. I've seen so many balls in this park come up short." -- Hairston

Padres 5, Pirates 3

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Scott Hairston is making the most of his home
runs for the San Diego Padres.

Hairston hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning
Wednesday night, lfiting the Padres over the Pittsburgh Pirates
5-3. The win increased San Diego's lead in the NL wild-card race to
2 1/2 games over Philadelphia, which lost 2-1 in 10 innings at St.
Louis.

Hairston, acquired in a trade with Arizona on July 27, also hit
a game-winning, solo homer to give San Diego a 4-3 win in 10
innings on Aug. 3 against San Francisco. He entered that game as a
defensive replacement and hit a three-run homer in the eighth to
tie the game.

"He's made a couple of big swings since he's been here,"
Padres manager Bud Black said.

Hairston's homer gave San Diego its sixth straight win and
allowed the Padres to stay one game off the NL West lead behind
Arizona.

Hairston hit an 0-1 slider from Matt Capps (4-7) over the
left-field wall. He had been just 5-for-30 (.167) with two outs and
runners in scoring position this season.

"I thought I hit it really good," Hairston said. "I know I
don't have that much power. In this ballpark, you never know unless
you hit it really well. I've seen so many balls in this park come
up short."

The timely hit rescued the Padres, who had been held in check
after scoring a pair of first-inning runs. San Diego had just three
singles from the second through the eighth innings.

"There is no quit in this team," said Adrian Gonzalez, who got
the Padres' ninth-inning rally started with a double. "We've won a
number of games like this and we believe in each other."

Gonzalez's double off the left-field wall nearly cleared the
fence with one out. Kevin Kouzmanoff followed with a two-out walk
before Hairston with his eighth home run, and was met by a wild
celebration at home plate.

"It just wasn't the right pitch," Capps said. "I went against
every instinct I had and got beat by something that wasn't my best
pitch. That's the hard part."

Cla Meredith (5-6) pitched a perfect ninth inning for the win.

"We did everything we could do," Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy
said. "Unfortunately, [Capps] was just an out away from a fabulous
save."

Pittsburgh lost its fifth straight game.

"I wanted to see a pitch because I know he had good stuff,"
Hairston said. "But you really can't get too aggressive in that
situation."

All-Star Chris Young started for the Padres and was in danger of
losing his fifth straight decision. He gave up three runs and five
hits over six innings.

The right-hander was 9-3 and led the majors with a 1.82 ERA when
he left a start on July 24 after two innings with an injured side.
He went on the 15-day disabled list and since coming back on Aug.
9, Young has gone winless in eight starts with a 5.61 ERA in those
games.

Ian Snell limited San Diego to one earned run and four hits in
seven innings and said he left with a sore arm. He gave up two runs
in the first inning, but faced only one batter over the minimum in
the next six innings.

Nate McLouth put Pittsburgh ahead 1-0 in the first inning with a
sacrifice fly that scored Nyjer Morgan, who led off with a triple.

San Diego scored twice in the first to erase the Pirates' 1-0
lead. Brian Giles led off with a double and went to third on a
passed ball. After Mike Cameron walked and stole second, Gonzalez
blooped a two-run single.

Pittsburgh went ahead 3-2 in the third after Snell reached on a
fielder's choice. Morgan was hit by a pitch, McLouth doubled in a
run and Freddy Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly.

Game notes
Young's last win was a 1-0 decision over Philadelphia on
July 19. ... Pirates SS Jack Wilson was not in the starting lineup
after leaving Tuesday night's game with tightness in his right
hamstring. Cesar Izturis replaced Wilson.