Pirates seek to again slug their way past Padres

( - The Pittsburgh Pirates will try to keep rolling on this road trip and continue a three-game series Tuesday against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

The Pirates opened this set with Monday's 10-3 beating of the Friars, as they pounded out 16 hits to San Diego's five. Jordy Mercer led the barrage with four hits, including a home run, four runs scored and two RBI, while Neil Walker collected three hits and drove in three runs.

Josh Harrison had a three-hit game as well for the Pirates, who are 5-3 on the road trip and have won nine of the last 13 games overall.

Charlie Morton started for the Pirates and earned the win with five innings of two-run ball, nine strikeouts and three walks. He held the Padres to three hits for his second win of the season (2-7).

"I think he competed very well the first four innings," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said of Morton. "He was able to compete and he was able to get the outs he needed to give us five solid (innings)."

Gerrit Cole takes the hill for Hurdle's club Tuesday and he has won three of his last four decisions. Cole, a native of nearby Newport Beach, defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in last Thursday's 6-3 win and gave up three runs in 6 1/3 frames to push his record to 5-3 in 11 starts with a 3.80 ERA.

The Pirates have won each of Cole's last three starts and the right-hander is 3-3 in six road assignments this season. In two career starts against the Padres, Cole has a 1-1 mark with a 2.25 ERA.

San Diego returned home from a 3-3 road trip and couldn't get the bats going versus the Pirates. In Monday's loss to the visiting Buccos, Everth Cabrera, Seth Smith and Yonder Alonso were each credited with an RBI and starting pitcher Tim Stauffer lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits with four K's and two walks.

The Padres' bullpen, which has been successful this season, was reached for eight runs and 12 hits. The bullpen entered the night with the second-best ERA in the majors at 2.27. Washington, which will visit San Diego this weekend, has the best relief staff at 2.19.

"You play six months there's going to be nights like this," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "It's rare for this team to have games like this. You don't see them very often so when they do, it's rather alarming."

Jesse Hahn will make his major league debut on the mound Tuesday for San Diego and the 24-year-old has never pitched above Double-A. In 10 appearances (7 starts) with San Antonio, Hahn has a 2-1 record and a 2.20 ERA with 28 K's and 11 walks. Opposing hitters are batting .242 against Hahn.

Selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixth round of the 2010 MLB Draft, the right-handed Hahn was acquired by San Diego in an offseason trade.

"We feel what we saw in Spring Training with Jesse was a Major League arm, big league stuff, good head on his shoulders," Black told the club's website. "Some of the other guys we considered, it just didn't quite fall on their day and maybe they hadn't pitched with the consistency that Jesse has pitched his last couple times out."

San Diego and Pittsburgh are meeting for the first time since the Padres took four of seven matchups a season ago. The Pirates, though, won two of three games at Petco Park from Aug. 19-21.

The Padres have won 19 of the last 26 games against the Pirates.