(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Pirates fell behind in the race for the
National League Central lead and are winless so far in their four-game series
with the San Diego Padres at PNC Park.
The Pirates hope to keep pace with the St. Louis Cardinals in the division
Wednesday, when they resume this set versus San Diego.
Pittsburgh dropped the opener to the Padres 2-0, then suffered a 5-2 loss
Tuesday night. All-Star pitcher Jeff Locke was roughed up in the setback and
allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. Locke didn't get much run
support, as Marlon Byrd drove in both runs on a double in the third inning.
"Everybody's aware of where we are, what's going on," Pittsburgh manager Clint
Hurdle said. "At the end of the day, we had a couple of opportunities we
didn't capitalize on."
The Pirates are now one game behind the Cardinals for the NL Central lead, but
lead the wild card race. The Cincinnati Reds, who sit 2 1/2 games behind in
the division, currently occupy the final wild card spot.
Pittsburgh is 3-3 on its 11-game homestand and will give the ball to Charlie
Morton on Wednesday. In 17 starts this season, Morton is 7-4 with a 3.54
earned run average and is 0-1 in his last two starts since winning four
straight decisions. Morton did not record a decision in Friday's 5-4 loss to
the Chicago Cubs and allowed three runs in five innings.
Morton is 2-2 in eight starts at PNC Park and has won both of his career
starts against the Padres.
San Diego will try to spoil Pittsburgh's division title hopes once again and
won for the 10th in 14 tries Tuesday night. Jedd Gyorko went 3-for-5 with a
three-run homer and Ronny Cedeno had three hits and a run scored against his
Padres starter Eric Stults allowed two runs on seven hits over five innings to
earn his first win since July 14.
"It's definitely good to get (a win)," Stults said. "It's one of those things
that maybe it'll be a little confidence boost, I've thrown some games where
I've had some tough luck and others where I've put in a position to win and it
just didn't happen."
The Padres are 5-3 on their 10-game east coast junket and hope Tyson Ross can
find some success when he takes the mound Wednesday. Ross is 0-3 in his past
six outings and lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Thursday's 10-5 loss at
Philadelphia. He was reached for six runs and five hits to fall to 3-8 in 32
games (13 starts) this season.
Ross lost to the Pirates back on Aug. 20, when he permitted five runs, four of
which were earned, and six hits in 6 1/3 innings of an 8-1 loss at Petco Park.
San Diego lost that three-game series versus the Pirates from Aug. 19-21 and
went 5-1 against Pittsburgh last season.
The Sports Network