Streaking Pirates try to deal Shields first loss

( - The Pittsburgh Pirates aim to keep rolling and will resume a four-game series Friday with the San Diego Padres.

The Pirates made it seven wins in a row with an 11-5 defeat of the Padres Thursday at Petco Park, as Starling Marte, Jung-Ho Kang and Gregory Polanco all homered to support a shaky start from A.J. Burnett.

Burnett picked up his fifth win (5-1) despite allowing five runs -- four earned -- and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two.

"He's had a great start to the season. I think this was his 10th start," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We complicated things in the fourth and the fifth (defensively) or there's no telling what the line would have ended up. It was what is was."

Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Francisco Cervelli had three hits apiece in Pittsburgh's 15-hit attack.

Francisco Liriano gets the ball for Hurdle's club Friday and the left-hander is 2-4 with a 3.86 earned run average in nine starts. Liriano was winless (0-3) in his last four starts and got back into the win column with Sunday's 9-1 win over the New York Mets. He struck out a season-high 12 batters and allowed one run in six innings of work.

Liriano has made four career starts against San Diego, going 1-2 with a 2.42 ERA. The Pirates are just 2-7 in his nine appearances this season.

San Diego had won two straight and three of four games prior to Thursday's loss and starting pitcher Ian Kennedy continued to struggle. He allowed seven runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

"We're trying to get consistency from Ian. No one feels worse about this than he does," Padres manager Bud Black said of his starter. "He's bummed."

Will Middlebrooks had three hits and an RBI, while Justin Upton posted two hits and drove in a run for the Padres, who lost for the ninth time in 13 tries.

James Shields looks to keep his unblemished record intact when he takes the mound for the Padres Friday. Shields is 6-0 with a 3.75 earned run average in 10 starts and San Diego is 7-3 when the right-hander pitches.

Shields allowed three runs in seven innings of an 11-3 rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday and struck out seven with one walk. Shields has fanned 27 batters in his last three outings and is 2-0 with a 3.20 ERA in four home starts. He will face the Pirates for the first time.

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