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Padres fall to 6 games under .500 as pitching woes mount in 10-3 loss to Pirates

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SAN DIEGO - From start to finish, the Padres were doomed by poor pitching on Monday night.

Starter Tim Stauffer (2-2) turned in another wobbly performance, getting knocked around in a 10-3 loss to the Pirates. Not only was Stauffer bad, but the Padres had to burn through six other pitchers before the debacle was complete.

In all, the Padres heaved 249 pitches, their most ever in a nine-inning game, and the Pirates piled up 16 hits.

"He couldn't get in the strike zone, he had a couple of walks and if he did get ahead, he couldn't put them away," Padres manager Bud Black said of Stauffer.

With a depleted bullpen, the Padres have starter Jesse Hahn making his major league debut on Tuesday night. Such a scenario had Black admitting the team will likely have to make roster moves before the game to beef up the staff.

That's because his trusty bullpen was off-kilter.

"We have one of the best bullpens in baseball," Black said. "But you play six months, there's going to be nights like this. You don't see them very often, so when you do, it's rather alarming."

Stauffer, who lasted only 2 2-3 innings after getting just one out in his last start, was inserted into the rotation when Andrew Cashner and Robbie Erlin landed on the DL with elbow issues. While Stauffer won his first start this year in pitching five innings against the Cubs, he's absorbed losses in his last two outing and his ERA has jumped from 1.90 to 4.73.

"I had a good bullpen in between (starts) and my arm felt good," Stauffer said. "The first couple of innings I felt pretty sharp. It was just unfortunate that it unraveled the way it did."

Jordy Mercer homered and matched a career high with four of Pittsburgh's 16 hits.

Neil Walker added three hits and three RBIs, and Josh Harrison also had three hits to help Pittsburgh win for the ninth time in 13 games.

Charlie Morton (2-7) tied a career best with nine strikeouts in five innings. He allowed two runs and three hits in winning for the first time in five road starts this year.

Three relievers finished the five-hitter after 4 hours, 4 minutes — the longest nine-inning game in Padres history.

Mercer scored four times from the No. 8 spot in the batting order and went 4 for 5 to raise his average 20 points to .219. He entered with one home run and seven RBIs in 146 at-bats.

The Pirates broke open the game with three runs each in the seventh and eighth. The big blow was Walker's two-run double in the seventh, propelling Pittsburgh to its sixth win in the last nine road games.

Through the first four innings, Morton didn't allow a run or hit — although the Padres reached on an error, two walks and two hit batters.

"He was still dealing with base runners," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "But he was able to compete and get outs when he needed to. He gave us five solid innings."

In the fifth, Everth Cabrera's double drove in Alexi Amarista after he opened the inning with a single. Seth Smith drove in Cabrera with a single, trimming the Pirates' lead to 3-2, but pinch-hitter Tommy Medica struck out with the bases loaded.

NOTES: Cashner threw a four-inning simulated game and didn't report any discomfort. Cashner, on the DL since mid-May with a sore right elbow, could start this weekend. Cashner said he's adjusted the grip on his slider to take pressure off his elbow. ... Erlin hasn't been cleared to resume throwing. He's on the DL with a sore left elbow. ... Harrison has batted leadoff 15 straight times, the longest stretch by a Pirates player this season. ... RHP Gerrit Cole (5-3, 3.80 ERA) faces Padres RHP Jesse Hahn on Tuesday. It will be Hahn's major league debut after appearing in 10 games with Double-A San Antonio, where he was 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA.

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