PITTSBURGH -- After backpedaling for more than a month in the NL West, the San Diego Padres did the strangest thing. They won. Easily.
Jake Peavy pitched effectively for seven innings and helped San Diego's slumping offense by driving in his first run this season, leading the Padres past the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-3 Tuesday night for only their second victory in 14 games.
The Padres, moved into a one-game lead in the NL West despite winning just twice since July 17, took advantage of Pirates starter Kip Wells' wildness to open a 5-0 lead in the fourth. Three of the five batters Wells walked in 3 2/3 innings came around to score.
Khalil Greene had a two-run single after Wells walked the bases loaded in the second and Peavy, batting .125, followed with an RBI double for only his second extra-base hit in two seasons. Peavy also singled while going 2-for-3, giving him half as many hits as he previously had this season.
Peavy (9-4) didn't get a decision in his previous start despite allowing only one run and two hits in eight innings, a 2-1 Padres victory over the Cardinals on Wednesday.
"We got some runs early, and I'm sure it helped Jake settle down and made him realize he doesn't have to make a perfect pitch all the time," Brian Giles said. "This kind of game can get an offense going when things aren't going very good."
Afterward, the Padres held a let's-get-this-turned-around meeting they've been planning since they went 8-18 in July. They planned it during an off day Monday, but couldn't hold it after a delayed flight from the West Coast to Pittsburgh.
"When things go right, it gets you in the right frame of mind," pitcher Brian Lawrence said. "July's over, and we're the winningest team in August now. That's the attitude we're taking."
Peavy made the early lead stand up by striking out nine and walking none, despite allowing Jason Bay's 20th homer in the fourth and rookie Chris Duffy's RBI double in a two-run fifth. The right-hander has won four of six decisions despite pitching for a struggling team that has won only 19 of 54 games since June 1.
The Padres were swept in three games by Cincinnati last weekend, with the Reds outscoring them 24-5 and hitting eight homers to their none. San Diego has gone nine games since its last homer, by Geoff Blum on July 23.
"But we're not looking back anymore," Peavy said. "That's something we talked about -- this team isn't looking back. We went through some tough stretches, there's been a lot of change here and a lot of talk about the negativity. But there's 56 games from here on out ... and we believe we're going to be the best team over the next 56 games and get into the postseason."
Maybe the Padres needed only to face a club that's going nearly as badly as they are.
Given little chance following the inconsistent Wells' latest bout of control problems, the Pirates lost their sixth in seven games and their 15th in 21 games. They gave up eight or more runs in a one-sided loss for the fourth time in their last nine games in PNC Park, where they are 24-28.
Wells (6-12) lost his fourth in a row and eighth in nine decisions since June 8. He has walked four or more in nine of his 23 starts and leads all NL starters with 67 walks.
"It's trying at times, because you expect so much from him -- he's got a quality arm and quality stuff, but five walks in 3 2/3 innings really puts you behind the 8-ball," manager Lloyd McClendon said.
San Diego scored five runs on singles in the eighth against reliever Rick White. Greene, Mark Sweeney and Mark Loretta all finished with two RBI.
The Pirates, headed toward a 13th consecutive losing season, have started each of their last two homestands by allowing 11 runs in a loss. They were beaten 11-1 by Houston on July 18, starting a 3-5 homestand. ... The Padres had gone 14 games without scoring more than six runs. They hadn't scored as many as 11 since beating the Rockies 12-2 on July 8. ... Peavy threw nearly as many strikes (77, in 104 pitches) as Wells did pitches (83). Peavy has 155 strikeouts and 29 walks. ... CF Duffy made his second excellent catch in two games, stretching out as he sprinted toward the wall to run down Joe Randa's drive in the fourth. Duffy also made a potential game-saving catch in the ninth inning of a 4-1 win Monday in Atlanta. ... The Pirates' Rob Mackowiak is 3-for-27, helping to drop his average from .358 on June 11 to .268.