There's no reason to dress this up other than to be blunt about it: if the Pirates don't start hitting soon, they're going to find themselves in the wild card game. They crushed the ball when they were in Texas, but the offense has been mostly absent in the first six games of this homestand and because of that, the Pirates should consider themselves lucky to have split these six games.
Tonight was better than last night, but that doesn't mean it was great. The two runs the Pirates scored happened because Kyle Blanks fell down in the outfield on what should've been a Marlon Byrd flyout in the third inning. Besides that third inning, the Pirates only got two runners on base one more time. That happened in the fifth, when Byrd struck out with runners on first and second and two outs.
Of course, the pitching didn't make things much easier tonight. Jeff Locke paid for the ten runners he put on base with a three-run Jed Gyorko home run and he needed a vanishing act to escape the fourth with only one run allowed. That was plenty for Eric Stults and the Padres bullpen.
The Cardinals are up 10-4 in the eighth inning right now, so baring some late-game craziness, the Pirates will return to second place. The Reds beat the Astros, so they are a game and a half behind the Pirates. The Nationals swept a double-header from the Braves. They are 4 1/2 behind the Reds. Nothing in baseball is free; the Pirates won six times in seven games, but they've lost two straight and now there are only 11 games left. It's time to wake the bats up.