PITTSBURGH -- The bats have returned to the San Diego Padres in a big way. Too bad the pitching has left them. Brad Eldred's double to the gap in right-center in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Rob Mackowiak and gave the Pittsburgh Pirates a 9-8 victory against the Padres on Wednesday night at PNC Park.
It capped a wild night of three lead changes and two ties in a game that featured 20 hits and four errors -- one in which Chan Ho Park made his Padres debut and pitched like he has much of the past four seasons with the Texas Rangers. That is another way of saying not good, particularly when compared to his performance with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1997-2001. "Some balls were hit hard," San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. "He left some balls up, maybe it was because he had skipped his last start. "[But] we're glad to have him here. He's going to help us. There were things that I saw out there I liked, and he's going to help us." Park allowed seven runs (five earned) on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, walking three and striking out one. "I didn't make pitches when I was supposed to make pitches," Park said. "I tried in the first inning but I wasn't hitting my spots and they would swing the bat well or get a ground ball that was worth two RBIs. I haven't started in 10 days, so maybe I was a little rusty." Still, the Padres offense -- one that had scored only 12 runs while going 1-5 on a recently-completed six-game homestand, but tallied 11 runs in a victory on Tuesday night -- was performing, and the team carried an 8-7 lead into the seventh-inning stretch but failed to hold it. "That's always a great sign that we've been swinging better," Bochy said. "Unfortunately, our pitching hasn't been as solid as it's been over the course of the year." The Padres had not hit a homer since July 22 in Philadelphia, a stretch of nine games and 320 at-bats -- the longest stretch in the Majors this season. But Miguel Olivo, Eric Young and Khalil Greene each hit home runs for San Diego. Young was 2-for-4 with a career-high four RBIs, Greene 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Olivo -- also making his first start in a Padres' uniform -- was 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored. "There were some good signs out there," said Young, who made a fine running catch against the left-field wall. "You want to continue to build on those positives and go out there and get a win tomorrow." The Padres got a run in the first without the benefit of a hit. With one out, Damian Jackson walked and advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt that got past first baseman Eldred. Jackson moved to third on a Joe Randa groundout. He scored on a Dave Williams wild pitch. Then the Pirates scored three in the bottom of the inning on only two hits, also benefiting from an error. After Chris Duffy singled and Freddy Sanchez walked, Jody Gerut singled to right and Brian Giles' throw got passed Randa at third, allowing Sanchez to score and Gerut to advance to third. Gerut scored on a Jason Bay groundout, giving the Pirates a 3-1 lead. Olivo hit a home run in his first Padres at-bat -- a solo shot -- in the third to cut the Pirates' lead to 3-2. "It felt great," Olivo said of his big night after hitting .151 with the Seattle Mariners. "It's nice to be back in the National League and this is a good opportunity with a good team." But Bay got that run right back with a solo homer of his own in the bottom of the inning. Then, Castillo doubled and Eldred singled him in. Young's three-run homer scored Olivo and Park to tie the score at 5 in the fifth. Park was aboard only because Williams misplayed his sacrifice bunt attempt. Ryan Doumit's two-run single in the bottom of the fifth scored Bay and Eldred, chasing Park out of the game. The Padres took the lead when they scored three in the sixth on a two-run homer by Greene and a Young RBI single that scored Olivo. But the Pirates tied the score in the seventh when Eldred's double off of Scott Linebrink scored Bay. The Padres had base runners in the eighth and ninth innings against Salomon Torres and Jose Mesa (2-6), respectively, but could not cash in, setting the stage for Eldred's heroics against Akinori Otsuka (1-4). "They got it done tonight," Bochy said of the Pirates. "They got the big hits when they needed then and we made some mistakes so they get back into the game. It was one of those games we couldn't put it away."
Chris Adamski is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.