PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — The Pirates slide back to reality continued Friday night as they added once again to the loss column coming off a sweep at the hands of the fifth place Chicago Cubs.
This time, it was the San Diego Padres – the team that is last place in the NL West – and Aaron Harang. It was the Bucs eighth straight loss as they were trounced 15-5 at PNC Park.
Chase Headley’s grand slam highlighted San Diego’s first four-homer game of the season.
Headley’s shot to right-center capped a six-run fourth inning and was the Padres’ first grand slam of the season. Kyle Blanks, Aaron Cunningham and Jesus Guzman also homered for the Padres, who have won seven consecutive and 12 of their last 14 at PNC Park.
Will Venable had three hits, two runs and two RBIs, Cameron Maybin added three hits and scored two runs and Luis Martinez had three RBIs for San Diego.
The Pirates were tied for first place before losing on a controversial call in the 19th inning in Atlanta on July 26. They are 1-10 since.
The 15 runs were a season high for the Padres and the most Pittsburgh has allowed this season.
“We need to step up. We know it; we talked about it. We need action now. We need to find a way to fight through the hard part of the season,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “This is the hard part of the season and you’ve got to find a way to challenge yourself with hard. Hard is going to come, hard is what makes this game special. If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be special.”
Headley’s homer gave San Diego the lead for good, allowing Haring (10-3) to get the win despite allowing 13 hits in five innings.
The crowd was a sellout, the Pirates’ 13th of the season. But the 37,766 on hand saw Pittsburgh lose for the eighth time in its past nine home games. The Pirates have allowed 14 home runs in falling to 0-5 on this homestand.
Jeff Karstens (8-6) entered the game with the fifth-lowest ERA in the majors at 2.49, but he was charged with more earned runs (nine) in 3 1-3 innings Friday than he had allowed in his past five starts combined.
The final two batters Karstens faced were a bases-loaded walk to Jason Bartlett and Headley’s homer on the first pitch. It was Headley’s fourth of the season.
Blanks and Cunningham each hit his first home run of the season, both solo shots. Guzman added a two-run homer in the eighth.
Five days after being acquired in a trade from the Padres, Ryan Ludwick went 4 for 4 for the Pirates. Garrett Jones reached base five times as Pirates lost by 10 despite having as many hits as San Diego and coming up one hit short of a season high.
The Pirates did leave a season-high 16 men on base.
Pedro Alvarez was a primary culprit in that – he tied a Pirates record by grounding into three double plays (all 4-6-3). He also struck out and committed an error.
The Pirates and Padres continue their three-game series Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.