The biggest blow to Ross' outing Sunday was the two-out grand slam to Colin Moran in the fifth inning. Six of those seven runs came off the three home runs Ross surrendered, the first time he'd given up three or more home runs in a game since Sept. 10, 2015. He also walked three batters, who would all come around to score.
"It was just one of those days where the slider wasn't biting for him," manager Andy Green said. "He's had that slider all season long, and it was one of those days where you go out there and sometimes you don't have your best weapons."
Up until the fifth inning, Ross managed to maneuver through missed locations, with his only big mistake being a solo shot to Corey Dickerson in the second. Even then, he almost managed to escape the fifth without damage. With two on and two out, Josh Harrison turned a swinging bunt into an infield single to load the bases. Two pitches later, Moran hammered his second slam of the season.
"He got two quick outs with nobody on, and with Tyson on the mound, you like that situation right there," Green said. "Next thing you know, the bases are loaded and there's one pitch hit out of the ballpark. That kind of changes the trajectory of the game at that point in time. That's a frustrating one for him."
Regarded as one of the likeliest candidates the Padres could shop before the July 31 Trade Deadline, Ross needed a start similar to those of his in June -- when he posted a 3.38 ERA over 29.1 innings. Instead, he saw his season ERA inflate to 3.78 after allowing the most runs in an outing since July 18, 2017.
Ross' usual consistency and durability (5-5, 3.32 ERA over 95 innings coming into Sunday's contest), along with his $1.7 million contract that expires at the end of the season, make him an attractive midseason acquisition to teams with hopes of contending down the stretch. It's possible the Padres will look to shop him to those types of teams in hopes of boosting their already-stacked farm system -- ranked the No. 1 farm system by MLB Pipeline.
Ross, who leads the Padres in strikeouts with 90, didn't record one for the first time all season. In fact, the Pirates' offense combined to swing and miss just three times throughout his outing.
The Padres' offense however was a different story.
San Diego was unable to score from the sixth inning on, leaving the bases loaded in the sixth, stranding two in the seventh and retiring in order in both the eighth and ninth. Their best chance to close the gap came in the fifth inning, when Hunter Renfroe unloaded a solo shot to left field for his fifth home run of the year and second RBI of the game. However, Elias Diaz led off the sixth with a solo shot of his own, knocking Ross out of the game and giving the Pirates the nudge they needed to take the series.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Leavin' em loaded: The sixth inning was the biggest threat the Padres would muster. After A.J. Ellis walked to lead off the inning, pinch-hitter Jose Pirela singled. Wil Myers singled in Ellis, and Eric Hosmer followed with a walk to load the bases with one out, and cleanup hitter Renfroe at the plate. There would be no grand slam to match for the Padres however. Renfroe flied out to right and pinch-hitter Christian Villanueva struck out to end the inning.
Can't cash in: San Diego also couldn't take advantage of a leadoff walk in the seventh. After Carlos Asuaje walked, the Padres mustered two unproductive outs -- a Freddy Galvis strikeout and an Ellis infield popup -- before Pirela also walked. The Padres again came away with no runs, as Manuel Margot flied out to center to end the threat.
"I liked a lot of the at-bats we had today, we just couldn't deliver the big blow," Green said. "Then as the game progressed, we had our opportunities and just left them out there."
UP NEXT The Padres get an off-day Monday before they travel to Oakland to start a two-game series. Clayton Richard gets the ball in the opener at 6:05 p.m. PT on Tuesday night. He's worked at least six innings in 10 straight starts. Opposite Richard will be A's right-hander Chris Bassitt.