SAN DIEGO - Neil Walker homered and Pittsburgh recorded three run-scoring triples as the Pirates rolled to an 8-1 romp over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night before 21,381 fans at Petco Park.
Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison provided RBI triples for the Pirates (74-51), who never trailed. The three-baggers by McCutchen and Harrison highlighted a five-run spurt in the seventh that blew the game open. McCutchen's resulted in two runs, while Harrison came off the bench to produce a bases-loaded clearing one.
The Pirates can sweep the Padres (56-70) with a win Wednesday in the finale of the three-game series.
A.J. Burnett, who had been tagged for five runs in each of his past two starts, had a strong outing this time. Burnett (6-8) worked seven innings, allowing one run on four hits with seven strikeouts and a walk on a 112 pitches (75 strikes).
Walker, who scored three times, hit his eighth home run in the first off Padres starter Tyson Ross to get the Pirates off and running.
Ross (3-6) allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits with six strikeouts and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He threw 102 pitches (62 strikes) in his worst performance in his last five starts.
Walker drove a 3-1 pitch from Ross into the sandbox in right center for a solo homer with one out in the first inning.
After Alvarez reached on a throwing error by San Diego second baseman Jedd Gyorko, Russell Martin lined an RBI double into the right-field corner with two outs to score Alvarez for a 2-0 Pirates lead.
Alvarez made it 3-0 in the third with an RBI triple to left with two outs that scored Walker.
The Padres loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the inning when Ronny Cedeno reached on an error, Will Venable beat out an infield single and Alexi Amarista drew a walk. But Burnett fanned Yonder Alonso to prevent the Padres from scoring.
Gyorko put the Padres on the board in the fourth, leading off with a solo home run -- his 14th homer of the season -- to left to cut the lead to 3-1.
NOTES: Pirates OF Starling Marte didn't start for the second game in a row because of a contusion on his right hand. Marte hurt the hand after being stepped on during a headfirst slide in the weekend series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Marte is day to day. ... Pittsburgh RHP Gerrit Cole (6-5) will face San Diego RHP Ian Kennedy (4-9) in the series finale on Wednesday. The Pirates travel to San Francisco for a four-game set with the Giants beginning Thursday. The Padres have an off day on Thursday before playing host to the Chicago Cubs for a three-game series starting Friday.