PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Jason Marquis has been a feel-good story for the Padres, and that continued on Saturday night when he flirted with what would have been the first no-hitter in Padres history. He settled for a two-hit, complete-game shutout, as San Diego beat the Pirates, 5-0.
The 33-year-old Marquis pitched so poorly at the start of the season that he was released by the Minnesota Twins after going 2-4 with an 8.47 ERA in seven starts. San Diego signed the 13-year veteran as a free agent on May 29.
He missed the latter part of Spring Training and the beginning of the season while on the bereavement list after his 7-year-old daughter, Reese Marquis, was severely injured in a bicycle accident near their Long Island, N.Y., home. Reese has recovered and Marquis is now pitching with a clear head.
"I wasn't able to do the things I needed to do to really be able to be ready to pitch at the start of the season, but I don't regret that because my family will always come first," Marquis said. "The Twins were great with letting me spend all the time I needed with my family. I felt bad it didn't work out there, but I'm also thankful for this opportunity. I enjoy playing with these guys."
Marquis has now earned a win in five of his last six starts, and lowered his ERA to 3.66 with San Diego.
"It's really just being able to work on what I needed to work on," Marquis said of his resurgence. "Unfortunate situations happen and you've got to attend to them. I just wasn't there to work on what I needed to, but every time I step on the mound I did everything I could to try and get hitters out, and sometimes it doesn't work out. I came to San Diego and I felt refreshed, and I was able to go home and see that my daughter was getting better and on her way to a great recovery.
"I have a clear mind and was able to work on things at home, my one Minor League start here and pitching coach Darren Balsley has been unbelievable, I keep saying I wish I would have found him 10 years ago. He's made a world of difference."
Headley continues to batter Bucs
PITTSBURGH -- Chase Headley continued his recent hot-hitting on Saturday, homering and driving in three to lead the Padres to a 5-0 victory over the Pirates. Headley hit a solo blast off A.J. Burnett in the first inning that got the Padres on the board. The third baseman also plated a run with a groundout in the second, and walked with the bases juiced in the sixth. He's now hitting .278 with 18 blasts and 70 RBIs.
"We talk about the evolution of Chase, and we're seeing some changes in his game," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He's doing a lot of things that makes him an improving player, there was a time when people were at times critical of him, maybe he's too patient. Now you're seeing it's a combination of first-pitch swings, Saturday night was a first-pitch homer. We are seeing aggressive swings, and with that comes the pitchers can't just throw the ball in there like they did a couple years ago, where he gave pitchers a first-pitch strike.
"He's evolving and he's got a good head on his shoulders, to know that this game is always about moving forward and doing things to improve. He's an example of a great learner."
Headley, who hit three home runs in the first two games of the series, has keyed the Padres' 11-game winning streak in Pittsburgh, as he entered Sunday hitting .359 with five homers, five doubles and 17 RBIs in his career at PNC Park.
"It's one of those crazy things, you know there's some ballparks where you see the ball really well and you just get in situations where you are able to drive in runs," Headley stated. "Guys around me have been getting on base and giving me opportunities. It's nice when those times happen, but you just keep focusing on the game."
Grandal, Stauffer making steady progress
PITTSBURGH -- The Padres injury front is improving, with a couple of players making progress. Rookie catcher rookie Yasmani Grandal and pitcher Tim Stauffer are both making strides with their rehab assignments.
Grandal has been working his way back from an oblique strain.
"Grandal hit on the field on Saturday and he came out of it OK," Padres manager Bud Black reported. "He hit both left- and right-handed. The right-handed swing was much more fluid, the left-handed a little guarded. We are going to continue to watch him, but he's getting better."
Right-hander Tim Stauffer (sprained right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 15, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He too is improving.
"Stauffer threw last night," Black offered. "He came out of it fine, threw three innings and he's going to throw again in five days. A regular four days of rest and pitch his next ballgame on four days' rest. We want to build his pitch count, but he came out of it fine."
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.