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Morton starts strong but then falters in Pirates' 8-2 loss to Padres

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Charlie Morton retired the first 10 hitters he faced, then gave up five runs between the fourth and fifth innings.

"It was almost like two outings for him," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "One through three and then four and five. It's just two different sides of it."

The Pirates couldn't overcome the bad side.

Seth Smith hit a bases-loaded triple and Tyson Ross pitched six strong innings, leading the San Diego Padres to an 8-2 victory Sunday.

The Padres clinched a 14th consecutive series victory at PNC Park.

Morton was perfect before Yangervis Solarte walked with one out in the fourth and scored Yonder Alonso's single.

"In the fourth inning, the sinker away to left-handers starting elevating," Hurdle said. "A couple left-handers were able to get balls out over the plate and hit them to left field."

That happened when Morton left a 2-0 fastball over the plate and Smith tripled to left for three RBIs and scored on a wild pitch for a 5-2 lead.

Before Smith's triple, Morton was ahead of Solarte 0-2 and was poised to quell the Padres' threat. Instead, a curveball hit Solarte in the foot to load the bases.

"I didn't put him away when I needed to on that 0-2 pitch and that's what really hurt," Morton said.

Morton (5-11) was lifted after the fifth, responsible for five runs, five hits, a walk and five strikeouts.

Ross (11-10) allowed Gregory Polanco's two-run shot in the first, then shut down the Pirates. He yielded six hits and walked two.

"I thought he battled without his best stuff and his best command," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "Hanging slider to Starling Marte to lead off the game and then a hanging slider to Polanco, I think that kind of woke him up a bit."

Yonder Alonso added an RBI with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the seventh, and Jedd Gyorko singled in two more runs after Jeanmar Gomez walked three to load the bases in the ninth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: First baseman Tommy Medica was available off the bench after a pitch hit him in the head Saturday night. ... Shortstop Everth Cabrera was scratched shortly before first pitch.

Pirates: Second baseman Neil Walker (back spasm) was scratched from the lineup. He pinch-hit Saturday night and was slated to start Sunday. ... Center fielder Andrew McCutchen (rib) was out of the lineup for the sixth straight game.

ON DECK

Padres: San Diego returns to Petco Park to open a three-game set with the Colorado Rockies. RHP Jesse Hahn (7-3, 2.28 ERA) starts for the Padres against Colorado RHP Jordan Lyles (6-1, 3.72 ERA).

Pirates: Pittsburgh continues its eight-game homestand with a two-game interleague series against the Detroit Tigers. LHP Jeff Locke (3-3, 3.78 ERA) opposes Detroit RHP Justin Verlander (10-10, 4.57 ERA).

(UN)FRIENDLY CONFINES

Since PNC Park opened in 2001, the Pirates have never won a series against the Padres. Overall, the Pirates are 12-33 against the Padres in Pittsburgh since 2001. The streak lasts for at least another year until San Diego return in 2015.

"They're on our to-do list," Hurdle said. "To win a series against at home, we're due."

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