An unspectacular Travis Wood shut the Pirates down Friday night, just the same way cupcakes like the San Diego Padres are pushing the Pirates out of contention.
Wood, sent over to the Padres in a trade with the Royals earlier this week because someone has to pitch, struck out seven and gave up two hits in six innings, and the Pirates managed just three hits total in a lackluster 3-2 loss in San Diego.
The Pirates have lost five of six, with a flat series at basement-dwelling San Francisco bleeding into the next set against a Padres team that isn’t much better. Pittsburgh is 4 1/2 games behind the surging Cubs in the NL Central.
With two outs in the third inning, Wood hit Josh Harrison with a pitch (join the club), then Andrew McCutchen went down and crushed a cutter from the lefty into the second set of left-field seats in the expansive, offense-suppressing Petco Park for a 2-0 Pirates lead.
The Pirates hit a couple warning-track fly balls, but managed just two more hits, including a ninth-inning single by McCutchen for a 2-for-3 night, while the Padres pulled ahead.
A single and a couple walks loaded the bases for the Padres in the fourth, and Wood slapped a single to left to score a run before Allen Cordoba got cut down on the bases.
Chad Kuhl, who walked five and struck out four, was pulled with one on and one out in the sixth. Daniel Hudson promptly gave up a triple to Cory Spangenberg, aided by a Jordan Luplow bobble in right, to tie it at 2. A wild pitch let Spangenberg score the go-ahead run. Harrison and Josh Bell provided further sloppy play, missing the connection on a throw, but that was weathered.
A.J. Schugel and Jhan Marinez pitched scoreless innings, but the Pirates couldn’t close the gap against Craig Stammen or Kirby Yates. Brad Hand, the Padres’ remaining really good reliever, gave up a hit to McCutchen before sewing things up in the ninth.