Padres-Pirates Preview

The Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Pirates were shut down by another strong San Diego Padres pitching performance in Monday's series opener.

They're hoping their own Jeff Locke can return the favor Tuesday night at PNC Park.

Pittsburgh managed just one hit in Monday's 2-0 loss as San Diego's Andrew Cashner worked on a perfect game until Jose Tabata's single in the seventh inning. He was the only runner allowed by Cashner, who needed just 97 pitches to become the first pitcher in club history to face 27 hitters in a nine-inning complete game.

It would have been the seventh win in eight games for the Pirates (87-73), who have been limited to 27 runs over their last 10. Andrew McCutchen was 0 for 3 and is 1 for 9 with three strikeouts in three contests since an 11-game hitting streak ended.

Meanwhile, Cashner gave San Diego (69-80) its sixth quality start in seven contests.

The Pirates were fortunate to remain in a first-place tie in the NL Central with St. Louis, which suffered a 2-1 loss at Colorado, though Cincinnati cut the teams' divisional edge to 2 1/2 games with a victory in Houston.

The Padres, who began play in 1969, are baseball's only franchise without a no-hitter.

"Cashner was throwing three quality pitches for strikes and, most importantly, he was keeping them all down in the strike zone," said second baseman Neil Walker, who is 2 for his last 31. "Sometimes, you have games like this where the other guy just pitches a great game."

Pittsburgh will look for Locke (10-5, 3.14 ERA) to help end the club's home struggles against the Padres. San Diego has won 17 of the last 20 meetings at PNC Park and Chase Headley, 1 for 3 with a single Monday, is batting .341 in his last 11 games there with five homers and 18 RBIs.

Locke is fresh off ending an eight-start winless streak after limiting the Chicago Cubs to one run and three hits in seven innings of a 3-1 victory Thursday. The left-hander, who had been 0-3 with a 6.57 ERA in his previous eight outings, walked one after issuing 27 walks over his previous 38 1-3 innings.

"Nothing's really changed with me mentally," said Locke, who completed seven innings for the first time in 10 outings. "I still try to go out and be aggressive. Tonight was an example of everything working out the way you'd like it to.''

Fellow southpaw Eric Stults (8-13, 4.03) is still trying to end a 10-start winless stretch as he's without a victory since the All-Star break. He looked improved in a 4-2 loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday, however, allowing two runs in six innings after yielding a season-high seven in his previous outing.

"It was nice to see Stults bounce back," manager Bud Black said. "He had a good mix of fastballs and changeups."

Padres closer Huston Street isn't expected to be back until Wednesday after missing Monday's game to attend to a personal matter.

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