SAN DIEGO -- Kevin Correia is starting to regain the form that made him the most consistent starter for the San Diego Padres last year.
"That was as well as he's pitched all year," manager Bud Black said.
Correia faced the minimum through 6 1/3 innings before the Pirates chased him during a four-run rally in the seventh. Correia (9-7) won for the fourth time in five decisions.
"That's as good as I've felt," Correia said. "In the last month or so, I've felt pretty good but I just didn't really have everything working, and then tonight I had the offspeed pitches to go with the fastball command. I felt pretty confident out there and in control of the game."
Correia got Andrew McCutchen to fly out to left to open the seventh before allowing three consecutive singles to load the bases. He walked Pedro Alvarez to force in a run, prompting Black to bring in Ernesto Frieri. Frieri allowed Ryan Doumit's two-run double over Chris Denorfia's head and off the center field fence. Chris Snyder's groundout brought in another run.
Correia struck out the side in the third and sixth innings, finishing with seven K's and one walk. He allowed four singles.
"Overall he threw the ball very well," Black said.
All-Star Adrian Gonzalez went 4 for 4 with a walk, drove in two runs and scored twice. Miguel Tejada scored three runs for the Padres, who beat the Pirates for the fifth consecutive time this season. The West-leading Padres (66-46) have the best record in the NL while the Pirates (39-74) have the worst. San Diego remained 2½ games ahead of San Francisco, which beat Chicago. The Padres are 20 games over .500 for the third time this season.
Heath Bell pitched a perfect ninth for his 33rd save in 36th chances, and his 20th straight since May 29.
Pittsburgh starter James McDonald (1-2) was gone after allowing four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
"He threw OK," manager John Russell said. "He had some deep counts, got ahead of some guys but really had trouble putting them away."
McDonald threw a career-high 107 pitches.
"I had good stuff, a live fastball, but I got too many three-ball counts after being ahead in the count 0-2 and 1-2," McDonald said. "I have to be more aggressive in putting the batters away earlier in the count."
Pittsburgh scored an unearned run in the eighth to pull to 7-5 before the Padres scored another run in the bottom of the inning.
The Padres scored three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. Pirates reliever Chan Ho Park allowed Hairston's two-run homer and Gonzalez's RBI double, both with one out in the sixth, giving the Padres a 7-0 lead. It was Hairston's 10th, tying his career high set last year while with Cincinnati and the New York Yankees.
The Padres had six consecutive batters reach base with two outs in the fifth, scoring three runs to take a 4-0 lead. After Hairston and Tejada singled, Gonzalez hit an RBI single to center and Ryan Ludwick hit an RBI double to center. Chase Headley walked to load the bases and Yorvit Torrealba walked to bring in Gonzalez.
Leading off the fourth, Gonzalez bunted for a single to counter the shift opponents often put on against the left-handed slugger, and took second on McDonald's throwing error. Gonzalez advanced on Ludwick's fly out and scored on McDonald's wild pitch, which bounced in the dirt and went over the screen into the stands.
"You've just got to pick the right spots," Gonzalez said. "Leading off an inning I felt was a good time to do it, if I got the right pitch for it, and I did."
Black felt the bunt gave the Padres a lift.
"As small as it was, I thought it was a big part of the game," Black said.
"Next time I will know to eat the ball," McDonald.
Black said 2B David Eckstein is doing better but there's no timetable for his return from a strained right calf that has had him on the DL since July 21. ... Jerry Moss, owner of the undefeated mare Zenyatta, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Zenyatta improved to 18-0 on Saturday with a neck victory in the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at nearby Del Mar.