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Interleague Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, May 18th (All times Eastern)

Houston Astros (11-31) at Pittsburgh Pirates (25-17), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Erik Bedard (0-2, 6.67) Pittsburgh - A.J. Burnett (3-4, 2.73)

(Sports Network) - A.J. Burnett tries to put the brakes on a personal two-game losing streak Saturday when the Pittsburgh Pirates continue a three-game series against the Houston Astros at PNC Park.

Burnett fell to Milwaukee on Monday, as he allowed four runs (3 earned) and seven hits in seven innings to fall to 3-4 on the year to go along with a 2.73 ERA. He was also victimized by six Brewers stolen bases.

"It didn't seem to matter if we were quick to home, or whatever," Burnett said. "I don't know how many great jumps they had, if you watched the game. I don't think they had one great jump. I did what I could out there."

Burnett has faced the Astros 11 times and is 4-5 against them with a 4.54 ERA.

Houston, meanwhile, will turn to lefty Erik Bedard, who is still searching for his first win of the season after losing 14 games a year ago for the Pirates. Bedard picked up a save with 3 1/3 scoreless innings on Opening Day, but is 0-2 since then and is pitching to a 6.67 ERA on the year.

Bedard, who has never faced the Pirates, did not get a decision in his last start last Saturday against Texas, but pitched well, giving up two runs and four hits in five innings. He also struck out seven in the 8-7 loss.

"Bedard was tremendous and did a great job," Porter said. "I thought in the fifth, when he stepped back and bowed his neck and willed us through that inning with big pitch after big pitch after big pitch, he was outstanding tonight."

The Astros have lost the last six times Bedard has pitched.

Houston's misery continued in Friday's opener, as Jimmy Paredes was charged with an error that allowed the winning run to score with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, helping Pittsburgh get past the Astros, 5-4.

With Houston's Edgar Gonzalez (0-1) on the hill and two down and the bases loaded, Russell Martin popped up the right-hander's 2-2 offering into right field, where Paredes and second baseman Jake Elmore bumped into each other. The ball fell to the ground and Travis Snider easily crossed home plate.

Hector Ambriz blew the save for the Astros in the eighth, issuing a two-run homer to Pedro Alvarez which tied the game.

"Our defense has been one of our strong suits pretty much the whole year," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "But tonight, we did not play good defense and we put our self in a position where it cost us the ballgame."

Andrew McCutchen was a triple shy of the cycle, finishing with three hits for Pittsburgh, winners of four straight and seven of eight overall. Justin Wilson (4-0) picked up the win after working around a walk in the top of the ninth.

"It's unbelievable," Alvarez said. "That's baseball."

Matt Dominguez hit a two-run home run for the Astros, losers in seven of their last eight.

Pittsburgh beat the Astros 12 of the 17 times the teams met a year ago.

05/18 10:21:19 ET

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