(Sports Network) - Veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett makes his fifth start
with the Pittsburgh Pirates today when they host the Houston Astros in the
rubber match of a three-game weekend series at PNC Park.
Burnett, who's making his 319th big-league appearance, came to the Pirates in
the offseason after three full seasons with the New York Yankees - for whom he
won 34 games in 99 starts over three seasons.
The deal sent a pair of minor leaguers to the Yankees' system and included a
condition that New York would pay $20 million of the $33 million Burnett will
make before next being eligible for free agency in 2014.
The Yankees paid him $49.5 million in three full seasons - or $1.5 million per
victory in that stretch.
He won his first outing with the Pirates with seven innings of three-hit
scoreless ball on April 21, but is 0-2 in three starts since while giving up
24 hits and 16 runs in 16 2/3 innings.
He's 2-5 lifetime against the Astros in seven starts.
Houston counters with lefty Wandy Rodriguez, who'll try to regain the success
of a three-start win streak that was snapped in his last outing.
The 33-year-old Dominican started the season 0-2, then won three straight
against Los Angeles, Cincinnati and New York between April 22 and May 2 before
dropping a 4-0 verdict to Miami on May 7.
He allowed four runs in the loss after giving up just three runs in 20 innings
in the three victories.
Rodriguez is 8-5 in 17 starts against the Pirates since reaching the majors
with the Astros in 2005.
On Saturday, Andrew McCutchen had four hits, including a solo homer, as the
Pirates defeated the Astros, 5-2.
Charlie Morton (2-3) allowed two runs - one earned - on seven hits and a walk
over six innings to notch the victory and Juan Cruz spun a scoreless ninth to
record his third save of the season.
Jose Tabata added a solo homer and scored twice, while Neil Walker also
knocked in a run as the Pirates snapped a brief two-game skid.
J.A. Happ (2-3) tossed five-plus innings and was charged for all five runs on
six hits and a walk. Jordan Schafer hit an RBI double and Jose Altuve scored a
run for the Astros, who have dropped four of six.
The Pirates went 6-3 against Houston at PNC Park last year, winning all three
series, and have gone 11-6 since 2010, winning each of the last five series
played in the Steel City.
05/13 11:05:30 ET
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