Published September 17, 2013
| Sports Network
The Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-2 on the season, leaving many to turn to the city's baseball team for relief.
The Pirates, though, didn't do their fans any favors in the opener of a four- game series versus the San Diego Padres and look to even the set Tuesday night at PNC Park. Pittsburgh is still tied with St. Louis atop the National League Central after the Cardinals lost in Colorado, but the Cincinnati Reds pulled within 2 1/2 games for division bragging rights.
Both the Pirates and Reds currently occupy the wild card spots.
Pittsburgh suffered a 2-0 loss to the Padres on Monday and A.J. Burnett was dealt the loss for allowing both runs in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked three batters to fall to 8-11 on the season.
"That's a big-league lineup. It is just baseball. Struggles or not, they have a big-league lineup. Take nothing for granted," said Burnett.
The Pirates had won two straight and six of seven games.
Jose Tabata had the only hit off Padres starter Andrew Cashner, who carried a perfect game into the seventh inning. Cashner struck out seven batters to push his record to 10-8.
"I've had some no-hitters broken up before. I think in previous times I've learned to just stay with my game plan and keep making pitches," said Cashner, who faced the minimum thanks to Andrew McCutchen's inning-ending double-play in the seventh inning and went the distance for the first time.
Will Venable and Jedd Gyorko drove in one run apiece for the Padres, winners in three of their last four games.
San Diego will send Eric Stults to the mound Tuesday and he is 8-13 with a 4.03 earned run average in 30 starts. Stults has struggled as of late, going 0-6 with a 5.40 ERA in his last 10 starts and hasn't won since July 14.
Stults is just 3-9 in 16 road assignments and the left-hander will face Pittsburgh for the first time.
The Pirates will counter with All-Star Jeff Locke and he owns a 10-5 record to go along with a 3.14 ERA in 28 starts. Locke ended an eight-game winless streak (0-3) his last time out in a 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, when he tossed seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball.
Locke, a lefty, is 5-2 in 14 home starts and has never faced San Diego.
San Diego lost a three-game series versus the Pirates from Aug. 19-21 at Petco Park. The Padres went 5-1 against Pittsburgh last season and have won 29 of the 39 games played at PNC Park since it opened in 2001.