Now that pitching has returned, where has offense gone?

Padres' starters have 2.53 ERA over last five games, but hitters batting .156

Now that pitching has returned, where has offense gone?

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres completed a turn through their rotation on Saturday night with five quality starts by their pitchers in as many games.

And the Padres' record in those five games ... 1-4.

Over the past five games, the Padres' starting pitchers have a 2.53 earned run average. But their offense has scored seven runs in those five games and has been shut out twice in the past three games.

The starting pitchers have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 27 hits (including four home runs) and nine walks with 26 strikeouts over 32 innings. Yet, they were behind in all five games -- twice at home before the Padres came to the plate.

The Padres have hit only .156 over the past five games -- with three doubles, a homer and three walks -- compiling a .173 on-base percentage and a .197 slugging percentage (.360 OPS).

Ouch.

FROM THE SCOREBOOK:

• Saturday marked the second time in three games that the Padres were behind before their pitchers retired a hitter in a game than ended in a shutout loss. On Thursday night in San Diego, right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne walked Cubs leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler then gave up a two-run homer to University of San Diego product Kris Bryant to go down 2-0 in an eventual 3-0 loss. Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson hit a leadoff homer on Saturday off right-hander Ian Kennedy.

• Kennedy allowed two runs on six hits and no walks with six strikeouts over six innings on Saturday. In his two previous starts, Kennedy had allowed 11 runs on 11 hits and seven walks in just 9 2/3 innings.

• Right-handed reliever Kevin Quackenbush struck out two in a perfect inning on Saturday. Over his last nine appearances covering 10 2/3 innings, Quackenbush has allowed one run on seven hits and four walks with 11 strikeouts.

• The Padres slipped to 20-24 with Saturday's loss. Their record after 44 games last season was 21-23, when they were hampered by the worst offense in the Major Leagues. Their record after 44 games in 2013 was also 21-23. Their record after 44 games in '10, when they won 90 games and missed the playoffs by a game, was 26-18.