Bud Black anticipated the question and fired off an answer before it could be completely asked.

“How do you explain . . .”

“I can’t . . . there’s no rhyme or reason” said the Padres manager Wednesday night after the Padres rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth on three straight two-out singles to defeat the Pirates and continue both their incredible run at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park and their more recent successes against two playoff-bound teams.

Wednesday’s win was the Padres third straight over the former National League-Central leading Pirates this trip and their 14th in their last 15 games at PNC Park – where the Padres are an incredible 31-10 since the ballpark opened in 2001.

And the Padres are 5-1 over the last six days against the playoff-bound Braves and Pirates.

Black said he couldn’t explain it. But he could at least the most recent part of it.

“I’m encouraged about how we’re playing right now” said Black. “This is the time of the year when guys are tired. And we’ve got a lot of guys with injuries.

“But we’re playing with spirit. We’re playing hard and smart. And we’re getting great pitching. A lot of guys are doing a lot of things to make it happen. And the guys who have been here for a while like Will (Venable) Chase (Headley) Nick (Hundley) and Mark (Kotsay) are setting a great example. I mean it.”

Take Rene Rivera for example.

After getting the game-winning hit Wednesday night the reserve catcher said he was thankful for getting a chance to “redeem” himself.

Rivera’s sin?

In the bottom of the seventh Rivera was unable to block a strike-three breaking ball thrown by Tyson Ross. The pitch hit a rut alongside the plate and ricocheted off Rivera’s glove and into the stands –allowing Neil Walker to reach first with one out.

The next hitter National League Most Valuable Player candidate Andrew McCutchen drove a 3-and-0 sinker from Ross into the distant stands in right-center to provide the Pirates to carry a 2-1 lead into the ninth.

“Who knows what happens if I block that ball and I always block that ball” said Rivera. There are two outs when McCutchen hits. Maybe we pitch him differently. Maybe it ends 1-0.”