SAN DIEGO -- Without Nos. 3 and 4 hitters Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit, the Pirates scratched and banged but couldn't hold off a two-out rally by the host San Diego Padres in the 11th inning, 4-3, before 25,601 at Petco Park this morning.
McLouth was a late scratch after straining a right oblique muscle "a little bit" in batting practice, Manager John Russell said, and Doumit was back in Pittsburgh starting his recovery from Thursday wrist surgery that reportedly went well.
"Yeah, it's going to hurt, losing two of our top hitters," said closer Matt Capps (0-1), who gave up a two-out, two-strike single to former Pirates slugger Brian Giles -- batting .152 at the time -- for San Diego's winning run. That scored pinch-batter Chris Burke, who walked on four Capps pitches and stole second.
Thus ended the Padres' three-game losing streak and the Pirates' three-game winning streak. "We still have the pieces to piece it together and have a nice run," Capps added.
McLouth's late-day injury, not considered serious, caused a reshuffling of the lineup. That resulted in right fielder Eric Hinske scoring a run, left fielder Brandon Moss driving in his first RBI of the season and Andy LaRoche -- lowered one rung in the order, to eighth -- driving in the run that completed a two-run rally and tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth.
Starting pitcher Ian Snell drove in the Pirates' first run of the night. His first-pitch, bases-loaded single up the middle scored Moss in the second. Nyjer Morgan, replacing McLouth in center field, couldn't bring in another run with the bases reloaded.
But then Snell gave up that lead on the very next pitch, a fastball over the plate in the bottom of the second. Adrian Gonzalez turned that into his sixth home run of the season.
The Padres swelled that lead to 3-1 with a run off Snell in each of the next two innings. David Eckstein had a two-out triple in the third and Nick Hundley a two-out double in the fourth
"The walks were killer," said Snell, who had five, one intentional. "Pitch location was terrible. But I battled and kept our team in the game, which was the most important thing."
In the sixth, Adam LaRoche walked, Hinske doubled and Moss followed with a run-scoring grounder. Andy LaRoche's single scored Hinske, and a single by Jason Jaramillo and an intentional walk to Morgan loaded the bases. Jack Wilson struck out and promptly threw his bat, ending the sixth-inning threat.
Wilson, in the 10th, made his third error in his past five games -- this after going 51 games without one.
"We couldn't get things going offensively," Russell said of the Pirates' three hits and two stranded runners over the final five innings. "Couldn't push a run across."
San Diego's Edwin Moreno (1-2) pitched the 10th and 11th for the victory.
"That was a tough loss for us," Snell said, "but we'll bounce back."
Game: Pirates vs. Padres, 10:05 p.m., Petco Park, San Diego.
TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WPGB-FM (104.7).
Pitching: LHP Zach Duke (2-1, 2.95) vs. RHP Shawn Hill (1-0, 3.60)
Key matchup: In six plate appearances vs. Duke, San Diego slugger Adrian Gonzalez has a home run, double and two walks. And he is a .314 career hitter against the Pirates as a whole.
Of note: The Pirates' defense has saved 13 runs, the best such figure in Major League Baseball according to Baseball Prospectus.
First Published April 25, 2009 6:00 AM