Pirates eye rebound effort vs. Padres behind Morton

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Pirates aim to rebound on Saturday night behind Charlie Morton when they play the third of four straight meetings with the San Diego Padres.

The Pirates had a seven-game winning streak halted when the Padres won 6-2 on Friday night behind Derek Norris' walk-off grand slam. Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano allowed only three hits and fanned 11 over six innings, but his bullpen failed to hold a lead.

Jared Hughes allowed two runs in the seventh inning in relief of Liriano and Rob Scahill yielded Norris' homer. He loaded the bases but then got a pair of forceouts at home on ground balls.

However, Norris then sent a 1-0 offering over the wall in center field for his second career grand slam.

"You just keep playing the game. We've been doing this for a long time," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "We didn't help ourselves late. Interesting game, fun game."

Norris, meanwhile, had struck out in each of his first four at-bats before his heroics. Craig Kimbrel earned the win, San Diego's fourth in six games, for a clean ninth inning.

"Every game is different," Padres manager Bud Black said. "When a game starts it is a blank canvas ... It was a great baseball game."

Morton didn't show any negative effects from hip surgery and looks to build off a successful season debut tonight for the Pirates.

Morton picked up a 4-2 win over the Miami Marlins on Monday, giving up two runs on eight hits, one a solo homer, over seven innings of work. He struck out three and didn't walk a batter while getting a plethora of groundouts in his first major league start since last September.

"I think I threw the ball well," said Morton. "My sinker was working pretty well. I kept it down and got a lot of groundballs."

The right-hander will be making the sixth start of his career against the Padres, who he is 3-1 against lifetime with a solid 2.97 earned run average.

Tyson Ross takes aim at just his second victory in nine starts tonight for the Padres.

Ross is just 1-4 since a victory over San Francisco on April 12 and the Padres are a mere 2-6 over those eight starts. However, he has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of those outings.

The right-hander had to work himself out of trouble in Monday's no-decision against the Los Angeles Angels, charged with just three runs -- two earned -- over six innings despite 10 hits allowed and one walk. Ross helped himself with seven strikeouts and is 2-4 on the year with a 3.84 ERA.

Ross is 1-1 in three career meetings with the Pirates, posting a 3.72 ERA.

San Diego and Pittsburgh split six games last season and will meet again in the Steel City for three games in July.