Oliver Perez has had trouble with his control this season.
Last Tuesday, Perez pitched seven strong innings, allowing two runs and seven hits while striking out seven and walking one in a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
It was just the fifth time in 14 starts this season in which Perez has pitched into the seventh inning. He failed to last five innings in his previous two starts.
“I’ve been working on being comfortable and pitching within myself,” Perez said. “I’ve been feeling good out there.”
The Padres have lost three of their last four, including a 6-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.
Pittsburgh has won four of its past six. On Monday, Jeff Suppan pitched his second shutout of the season and Reggie Sanders hit his team-leading 18th homer to lead the Pirates to a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Right fielder Matt Stairs, playing his 1,000th career game, also added an RBI single. He had been 0-for-6 in his previous two games.
“I hadn’t really swung the bat well the whole series and then I get that timely hit,” Stairs said. “That was nice.”
STANDINGS: Padres - 5th place, 27 1/2 GB, NL West. Pirates - 4th place, 8 GB, NL Central.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Perez (4-4, 5.42 ERA). Perez has made just one career start against the Pirates. On April 30, he lasted three innings, giving up seven runs and seven hits in an 8-5 loss.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Jeff D’Amico (6-10, 3.68 ERA). D’Amico was moved up in the rotation, because scheduled starter Kris Benson went on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. In his past three starts, D’Amico is 0-2, but he has allowed just six earned runs in 19 2-3 innings. On Thursday, he did not get a decision in the Pirates’ 7-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds after allowing four runs—one earned—and seven hits in six innings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Padres - Mark Loretta, .314 avg. and 45 runs; Ryan Klesko, 20 HRs and 59 RBIs; Gary Matthews Jr., 8 SBs. Pirates - Jason Kendall, .304 avg. and 60 runs; Sanders, 18 HRs; Aramis Ramirez, 67 RBIs; Kenny Lofton, 18 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Pirates, 3-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Padres - RHP Rod Beck has converted on all 12 of his save opportunities this season. … RHP Trevor Hoffman, on the 60-day disabled list with a shoulder injury, has begun playing long toss and could pitch off a mound by August. … 2B Loretta leads the Padres with 117 hits, 22 more than 3B Sean Burroughs. Pirates - Pittsburgh has 15 double plays in its last 11 games. … Pirates pitchers have walked an NL-low 183 in 621 innings. … RHP D’Amico is batting .156 (5-for-32) this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Padres - 18-34 on the road; Pirates - 22-29 at home.
INJURIES: Padres - INF Keith Lockhart (back), 15-day DL; OF Jason Bay (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL. Pirates - RHP Brandon Lyon (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL; INF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; INF Pokey Reese (thumb), 60-day DL; RHP Benson (shoulder), 15-day DL.