(SportsNetwork.com) - With a win tonight, the playoff-hopeful Pittsburgh Pirates can accomplish something they've never done at PNC Park - win a home season series against the San Diego Padres.
The Pirates posted a 2-1 victory last night in the opener of this three-game set. That moved the Bucs to 5-17 in the last six years of play at PNC Park against the Padres. They are 12-31 overall at the stadium versus San Diego, which has won the season series in Pittsburgh every year since play began at PNC Park in 2001.
A win tonight would also give the Pirates their seventh straight series win at PNC Park. Overall at home this season, the Pirates have gone 13-4-1 in their first 18 series.
Francisco Liriano, who is 2-0 over his last four starts, gets the mound assignment tonight for Pittsburgh. The 30-year-old lefty didn't get a decision at Arizona Sunday despite allowing just four hits and a pair of runs over six innings.
Liriano is 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA in three career starts against the Padres. He gave up only one hit, on a bunt, but walked six batters in a 3-2 defeat at San Diego on June 4.
Eric Stults, who is coming off a strong performance in a win against Atlanta on Aug. 1, counters for the Padres. The lefty yielded just two hits and an unearned run over 6 1/3 innings. It's been a long time since Stults has won on the road. He's 0-9 in 12 starts outside San Diego this season. Stults hasn't tasted victory on the road since last Sept. 28 at San Francisco in his final start of 2013.
Stults has faced the Pirates just once in his career, a victory on Sept. 17, 2013 at PNC Park.
Last night, Vance Worley tossed seven strong innings to lead the Pirates to victory. Worley (5-1) struck out seven while allowing five hits, one walk and one run scored for the Pirates, who have won three straight. They are 1 1/2 games behind NL Central-leading Milwaukee.
"I'm just going out and competing, and trusting my defense behind me," Worley said.
Gregory Polanco went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Seth Smith drove in the only run of the game for the Padres, who had won four of five coming in. Ian Kennedy (8-10) suffered the loss despite giving up just two runs -- one earned -- on seven hits and three walks while striking out five in six innings.
"We stressed Worley a couple of times, but couldn't break through," Padres manager Bud Black said.