PITTSBURGH -- Edwin Jackson has only made five starts with the Padres this season, but he's made a habit of flirting with history. The journeyman starter did so again Wednesday night at PNC Park, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning as the Padres beat the Pirates, 4-0.
Jackson held Pittsburgh hitless through five innings before Jordy Mercer knocked a clean single up the middle to lead off the sixth. Jackson, who threw a no-hitter for Arizona in 2010 and carried one into the seventh in his San Diego debut, wound up allowing two hits over seven strong innings, striking out seven and walking three. Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer completed the two-hitter.
"After you've been through what I've been through, man, I'm out there like I just have nothing to lose, out there trying to have fun," Jackson said. "Many years in the game with a lot of ups and downs, and I'm just trying to seize the moment."
Padres manager Andy Green visited the mound with no one out and a man on first base in the seventh inning. He said Jackson's demeanor reassured him enough to give him the long leash, and Jackson rewarded his skipper with three straight strikeouts to end his night.
"You can tell when they're out of gas and out of bullets," Green said. "There was no doubt in my mind when I walked off the mound that he was going to give it everything he had and still had enough to get those guys out."
"It's his night," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We weren't able to throw much back at him."
Veteran right-hander Ryan Vogelsong continued to impress in his second start back from the 60-day disabled list. Making his first appearance at PNC Park since he was struck in the face by a 92-mph fastball, a career-threatening moment that required surgery, Vogelsong held the Padres to two unearned runs on three hits and a walk over six innings.
"For the most part, I feel like it was a little better," Vogelsong said. "The command was better."
But the Pirates' reshuffled lineup couldn't touch Jackson, totaling five baserunners and hitting into two double plays. And their reconfigured bullpen allowed two late runs, one more of a mental mistake. Padres leadoff man Travis Jankowski caught lefty Antonio Bastardo off-guard in the eighth inning, stealing home for the second time this season.
With the Marlins' 1-0 loss to the Giants on Wednesday, the Pirates remained 2 1/2 games out of the second National League Wild Card spot.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Home sweet home: Jankowski's steal of home marked the Padres' fourth of the season -- the first time they've stolen that many since the 1999 club swiped home five times. The speedy center fielder also accomplished the feat on Aug. 1 -- after Melvin Upton Jr. and Wil Myers had done so earlier in the season. Jankowski broke for the plate when Eric Fryer threw the ball back to Bastardo, who fired the return throw wide, allowing Jankowski to slide across safely.
"It's do-or-die," Jankowski said. "You can either be a hero or a zero. Luckily, it worked out that time." More >
Strong finish: A pair of second-inning errors put the Pirates in a hole they couldn't climb out of, but for his part, Vogelsong held the line. The 39-year-old righty retired 12 of the final 13 hitters he faced, including eight in a row to end his outing. Assigned to the bullpen out of Spring Training, Vogelsong has put together a 0.95 ERA in four starts, striking out 18 batters and walking only two.
"It's no secret that I feel more comfortable doing that," Vogelsong said. "For some reason, when I start, I feel like my stuff is better."
Early hook:Yangervis Solarte served as the Padres' starting third baseman Wednesday night, but he never actually made it to his position. After popping up in the top of the first, Solarte didn't hustle down the line. (Had Mercer dropped the ball, he would've likely had an easy double play.) Solarte was removed shortly thereafter -- and Green confirmed that his lack of hustle was the reason why.
"I play hard every day, that's what I try to do," Solarte said through an interpreter. "I don't think about this happening in the future. ... For me, it's something that happened, and it's over with. I come to play hard every day." More >
Painful exit: Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli left the game after four innings due to left wrist discomfort. Cervelli, who seemed to be rediscovering his power stroke with a double high off the right-field wall Tuesday night, appeared to be favoring his left hand behind the plate and while running the bases after drawing a third-inning walk off Jackson. When Vogelsong returned to the mound to start the fifth inning, Cervelli was replaced by Fryer. More >
"Oh boy, I just messed up. But I want to be aggressive and try to make plays on the baseball field. That's my mentality, and I guess I got lucky this time." -- Jankowski, on his reaction when he noticed Fryer might have a play on him
"It's my fault I had to come out of the game. If I pick up a swinging bunt and throw it to first the way I have a thousand times in my career, it's 0-0 and I don't have to come out." --Vogelsong, on his second-inning throwing error
"He just kept us off-balance. He threw [his slider] any time, any count, ahead, behind, even, whatever, and then he would sneak in that cutter. He still throws 94 with the four-seam, too. You've got to give him credit." -- Mercer, on Jackson
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
On Tuesday, Ryan Schimpf was hoodwinked at second base by a brilliant slide from Josh Harrison. He returned the favor to the Pirates in the seventh inning Wednesday. Attempting to score from second on an Alexei Ramirez single, Schimpf looked like a sitting duck after a perfect throw by Starling Marte. But Schimpf evaded Fryer's tag with a crafty slide, and the call on the field stood after a replay review.
"I was more worried about being able to field it clean," Fryer said. "I figured if I went up the line to get it, I was going to be a lot further out front and give him the whole back side [of the plate]. I thought I'd stay, went outside to catch it and still get enough angle to get there. I knew I tagged him, but I knew it was high with the way he slid and where I was. I was hoping the replay might show something, but not conclusive enough."
WHAT'S NEXT Padres:Christian Friedrich was brilliant in his first five starts for San Diego, but he struggled in his next seven. It appears as though he could be finding his groove again. After a pair of solid outings, Friedrich takes the hill for Thursday's series finale against the Pirates with first pitch set for 9:35 a.m. PT.
Pirates: Rookie right-hander Jameson Taillon will make his 10th Major League start Thursday at 12:35 p.m. ET, looking to continue his streak of five straight six-inning, quality starts in the Pirates' series finale against the Padres at PNC Park.