While trying to avoid being swept at PNC Park for the first time this year, the Pirates also hope to snap an 11-game home losing streak to the Padres on Sunday.
After squandering a six-run lead in dropping Friday's opener 9-8, Pittsburgh (63-50) appeared to have a good chance of bouncing back Saturday behind A.J. Burnett, given it had won all 10 of his starts at PNC Park. Burnett was outdueled by Jason Marquis , however, as the Padres veteran tossed a two-hitter in handing the Pirates a 5-0 loss.
It marked the sixth straight win for San Diego (51-64) and third loss in a row for Pittsburgh, which dropped 4 1/2 games back of NL Central-leading Cincinnati. San Diego hasn't won seven consecutive games since an eight-game run from April 16-24, 2010, while the Pirates haven't lost four straight since June 12-15.
Pittsburgh, which is in control of the NL's second wild-card spot, is enjoying a resurgence thanks to the majors' second-best home record at 35-20. It has been unable to carry over that home dominance against San Diego, though.
The Pirates have been outscored 86-33 in losing 11 straight at PNC Park to the Padres since Sept. 18, 2009, their longest active home losing streak to any opponent as well as San Diego's longest active road winning streak over any foe.
Chase Headley , who has his three home runs in the first two games, has keyed the winning streak in Pittsburgh, batting .359 with five homers, five doubles and 17 RBIs.
To prevent San Diego's run from extending into 2013, the Pirates turn to Erik Bedard (6-12, 4.53 ERA), who has posted a 1.63 ERA while striking out 31 over 27 2-3 innings in winning his four career starts against the Padres.
Bedard is tied for the major league lead in losses, but at PNC Park, he owns a 2.38 ERA and is limiting opponents to a .192 average - the fifth-lowest home average in the majors. At home against Arizona on Monday, the left-hander permitted two hits and didn't walk a batter over seven innings in a 4-0 win."That's just what you try to do - make some good pitches, get some outs and get the hitters back out there," Bedard said.
The Padres go with former Pirate Ross Ohlendorf (4-2, 5.61), who went 13-27 with Pittsburgh from 2008-11.
Ohlendorf signed with San Diego in June and has thoroughly enjoyed pitching at spacious Petco Park, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three starts. Facing the Chicago Cubs there Tuesday, he allowed two runs and three hits in six innings in a 7-4 win.
The right-hander has been nowhere near as sharp on the road, though, compiling an 0-2 record with a 9.56 ERA in four starts.
Taking the hill at PNC Park could be what he needs to solve his road woes, though, considering he had a 3.93 ERA in 35 games there.
"I've always enjoyed pitching here," he told the Pirates' official website. "It will be weird doing it as a visitor, but I'm looking forward to it."
Ohlendorf will try to add to the frustration of Andrew McCutchen , who is mired in an 0-for-9 slump, dropping his major league-leading average to .363.
|San Diego Padres|
|August 11, 2012||Huston Street||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|July 31, 2012||Yasmani Grandal||15-Day DL||Strained oblique|
|July 28, 2012||Joe Thatcher||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|July 26, 2012||Joe Thatcher||15-Day DL||Right knee tendinitis|
|July 18, 2012||Cameron Maybin||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|July 04, 2012||Andrew Cashner||15-Day DL||Strained muscle in right side|
|July 18, 2012||Juan Cruz||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|July 05, 2012||Alex Presley||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 05, 2012||Alex Presley||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 30, 2012||Andrew McCutchen||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained left wrist|
|June 25, 2012||Rod Barajas||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left knee|
|May 30, 2012||Charlie Morton||60-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- At the end of his memorable day, second baseman Neil Walker was much more interested in talking about his double-play partner.
Shortstop Clint Barmes ' first career grand slam keyed a nine-run fourth inning and Walker went 5 for 5 as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied past the San Diego Padres 11-5 on Sunday.
"He's one of the best teammates I've ever had," Walker said. "He's helped me a lot and he has helped this team a lot by playing great defense. It was good to see him come up with the big hit."
Walker homered and doubled as the Pirates overcame an early 5-0 deficit and ended San Diego's six-game winning streak. The Padres had won 11 in a row at Pittsburgh dating to 2009.
Andrew McCutchen and Michael McKenry each drove in two runs during the big inning against Ross Ohlendrorf (4-3) and Cory Burns . Barmes, a 10-year veteran, has 88 career home runs.
"It was the biggest home run of my career," Barmes said. "I've never hit a grand slam before and it came in a big situation when we needed something big to happen. If felt good, really good. I was excited."
Walker had the third five-hit game of his career and second this season, the other coming July 8 against San Francisco.
However, Walker was much happier for Barmes, who has struggled offensively all season after signing a $10.5-million, two-year contract in the offseason as a free agent. He is hitting just .217 after going 2 for 5.
Barmes hadn't committed an error in 34 straight games until making two in the first four innings before redeeming himself with the grand slam.
Pittsburgh stopped a three-game skid. On Friday night, San Diego rallied from six runs down for a 9-8 victory over the Pirates.
"Clint's swing was his biggest of the season and it might have been the biggest of the season for us," Hurdle said. "We kind of felt we got slapped by our girlfriend in front of our mother (on Friday) and we just needed something to feel good about."
The Pirates sent 14 batters to the plate in the fourth inning. McKenry drew a bases-loaded walk from Ohlendorf just before Barmes' slam and then singled in the final run of the inning.
"They ambushed us there in the fourth inning and we just couldn't make the pitches along the way to stem the tide," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "If you've been around the game long enough, you'll run into those innings where everything they do works, everything you do doesn't and you can't stop the momentum. You've just got to take it."
McCutchen, who leads the major leagues with a .362 batting average, ended a string of 11 hitless at-bats with a double in the fourth. He finished 2 for 6.
The Pirates remained 4 1-2 games behind Cincinnati in the NL Central and moved 2 1/2 games in front of St. Louis for the second wild-card spot.
"We're capable of having games like this," Walker said. "From one through eight in the lineup, we can all hit."
Erik Bedard (7-12) made it through five shaky innings for the win, allowing five runs - three earned - and five hits with four walks and six strikeouts. The left-hander improved to 5-0 in his career against the Padres.
Pitching in Pittsburgh for the first time since being released last October after going 13-27 in four seasons with the Pirates, Ohlendorf was tagged for seven runs - six earned - on five hits in three-plus inning while walking three and striking out one.
Logan Forsythe and Jesus Guzman had two hits each for the Padres and Chris Denorfia led off the game with his fourth home run.
Denorfia's homer started a four-run inning. Guzman hit an RBI single and two more runs scored when Barmes, the shortstop, made a throwing error on a groundball by Cameron Maybin .
Forsythe doubled with one in the second and scored when Chase Headley hit a tapper up the line that McKenry, the catcher, fielded and threw to the first for the out. Forsythe raced home when no one covered home plate.
Walker hit an RBI single in the second to pull the Pirates to 5-1 then moved in front 10-5 with the big fourth inning. The nine-run inning was Pittsburgh's biggest since it also scored nine on July 20, 2010, against Milwaukee.
Walker homered off Brad Boxberger to lead off the seventh.
NOTES: San Diego signed 1B-OF Mark Kotsay to a one-year contract before the game that carries through the 2013 season. The 36 year old is hitting .275 with one home run and nine RBIs in 55 games. ... Pittsburgh activated RHP Juan Cruz from the 15-day disabled list and optioned RHP Jared Hughes to Triple-A Indianapolis. Cruz missed 23 games because of shoulder inflammation. . Pirates RF Travis Snider did not start because of tightness in his right hamstring but pinch hit in the sixth inning and walked. ... The 113,539 series attendance was the second-highest for a three-game series in PNC Park's 12 seasons. ... The Padres open a four-game series at Atlanta on Monday night with LHP Eric Stults (2-2, 2.72) facing Braves LHP Mike Minor (6-8, 4.95). The Pirates begin a four-game home series with the Dodgers on Monday night with RHP Jeff Karstens (4-2, 3.77) pitching against Los Angeles RHP Aaron Harang (7-7, 3.80).