SAN DIEGO - Francisco Liriano allowed just one hit in five innings - Everth Cabrera's bunt single in the first - and lost.
"It was a weird game," Liriano said after the Pittsburgh Pirates lost 3-2 to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night. "Too many walks, getting behind in the count too much and not executing pitches. I tried to eliminate walks and keep us in the game."
He didn't quite succeed.
SAFE?CALL — Will Venable of the Padres slides under Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison during their game on Wednesday. The Padres beat the Pirates 3-2. Pittsburgh ended a 10-game road trip with a 6-4 record on the west coast.
Liriano (1-6) walked six and struck out seven. He walked the bases loaded in the fourth inning and then walked Chris Denorfia to give the Padres a 3-1 lead.
Three Pirates pitchers issued nine walks, two intentional, and hit one batter. The Padres struck out 10 times. San Diego has only 12 hits in its last four games.
"I was just having trouble throwing strikes on any pitch," Liriano said. "I don't know, it was a weird day for me. I didn't have any rhythm. I missed my spots a lot."
The Padres played ultimate small-ball, scoring on a sacrifice fly, an error and a bases-loaded walk to avoid a three-game sweep. Rene Rivera's fly to Andrew McCutcheon to end the eighth was the only ball fielded by a Pirates outfielder. Carlos Quentin hit a sacrifice fly in the first, but it was caught in short right by second baseman Josh Harrison.
Ian Kennedy (5-6) won his third straight start, striking out seven and allowing two runs on five hits in six innings. He walked one. Huston Street pitched the ninth for his 18th save in as many chances.
San Diego took a 2-0 lead in the first. Denorfia drew a leadoff walk, stole second and took third when Cabrera beat out a bunt for a single. Quentin hit the sacrifice caught by Harrison. His throw home was well up the third-base line. After Chase Headley was hit by a pitch, Cabrera scored on Harrison's throwing error on Tommy Medica's grounder.
"I didn't think it was just a case of him wrestling with his delivery," manager Clint Hurdle said of Liriano. "If he doesn't make the pitches he does, it could have gotten out of hand. He kept it in hand. Three of the five innings he led off with walks pitching out of the windup. We can't put a finger on it."
Pittsburgh pulled to 2-1 on Andrew McCutcheon's homer to left leading off the fourth, his sixth.
The Pirates added another run in the fifth when Harrison doubled in Jordy Mercer, who was aboard on a leadoff single.
NOTES: Padres RHP Andrew Cashner threw a bullpen session and could start Saturday night against Washington if he doesn't have a setback. He's been on the disabled list with soreness in his right elbow since May 15. ... The Padres recalled INF Jace Peterson from Triple-A El Paso and optioned RHP Jesse Hahn to Double-A San Antonio. Peterson, in his second stint with the Padres, started at second base in place of Jedd Gyorko, who's hitting only .162. ... Peterson hit .174 in 10 games, including seven starts, in his first stint with the Padres. ... Hahn lasted 2 2-3 innings in his major league debut in a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. ... San Diego is off Thursday and will open a three-game series against Washington on Friday, when the scheduled starters are Tanner Roark (3-4, 3.25) for the Nationals and Tyson Ross (6-4, 2.85) for the Padres. ... Pittsburgh also is off Thursday and returns home to open a series against Milwaukee on Friday, when the scheduled starters are Kyle Lohse (7-1, 2.60) for the Brewers and Brandon Cumpton (0-2, 6.85) for the Pirates.