HOUSTON – San Diego pitcher Dustin Moseley could not get any run support Thursday night. He should be used to it by now.
Moseley's third consecutive quality start of the season ended the same way the previous two had, with the Padres being shut out, this one a 1-0 loss to the Houston Astros to open a four-game series.
"He pitched outstanding and deserved a better fate," Padres manager Bud Black said.
The Padres' offense entered the game ranked second-to-last in the league, and it lived up to its reputation.
"It's frustrating, but you go out there and do your job and you leave the rest up to the team, and hopefully guys pull through," Moseley said of the lack of run support. "Through the first three it hasn't happened, but it's a long year. I mean, these guys can start scoring 10 a game for me. We have a great bunch of guys and a lot of good players, and I look forward to those days when they get their swings and confidence and everything is back to where it can be and it will be."
And so it was that Moseley, with a 1.83 ERA, dropped to 0-3 on the season despite pitching three-hit ball into the sixth and allowing just one run through 6 2-3 innings.
"It's baseball," he said. "It (stinks) that the first three were this way, but maybe my last 10 they'll put 10 up for me."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last major league starter to get shut out in three straight starts to begin a season was Kenny Rogers with the Tigers in 2008.
The Padres have averaged 3.25 runs through 12 games but have scored zero with Moseley on the mound — a span of 19 2-3 innings.
"We've got to keep grinding it out," Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick said of the team's cold start. "You always hear the phrase: 'Hitting's contagious.' Hopefully the contagiousness goes on the positive side here in a minute."
Against the Astros, San Diego could not rattle Astros starter Bud Norris (1-1), who allowed just two hits and struck out seven over six innings of work for his first win of the season.
"(Norris) was effective tonight," Ludwick said. "We had a lot of swings and misses on that slider, and I think guys were realizing that, and that made his fastball that much more effective."
Relievers Fernando Abad, Mark Melancon and Brandon Lyon finished the job for the Astros, who handed the Padres their third shutout of the young season.
Moseley kept the Astros in check through the fifth inning before allowing Astros catcher Humberto Quintero a single to lead off the bottom of the sixth.
An out later, Michael Bourn got to Moseley's cutter for a single to center field to score Quintero, who had reached second on Norris' sacrifice bunt.
Moseley recovered by retiring the next two batters, but the damage was done. He retired the first two Astros in the bottom of the seventh before allowing back-to-back singles, walking Melancon and being replaced by left-hander Cory Luebke.
"You get a performance out of your starter like that, you want to score at least a couple of runs," Ludwick said. "At least get him a no-decision there, because what does the guy have to do? Throw nine-inning shutouts all the time? No. I think he did an outstanding job tonight, and I think everyone realizes that and feels for him."
Black said he isn't worried about the lack of run support wearing on Moseley.
"Dustin's been around long enough to know that his job is to get outs, and over the long haul the wins will come," Black said. "I don't need to tell him a whole lot because he's got a great head over his shoulders, and he knows what this is all about."
NOTES: Houston reliever Wilton Lopez was experiencing elbow soreness and was expected to be examined by a doctor soon. ... Astros SS Clint Barmes, on the disabled list with a broken left hand, is scheduled to have X-rays on Monday to determine how his hand is healing.