National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, July 16th
(All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Pirates (49-39) at Colorado Rockies (34-54), 8:40 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Jeff Karstens (2-2, 3.94)
Colorado - Jeff Francis (2-2, 5.19)
(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Pirates hope to get the bat on the ball when
they shift focus to the Colorado Rockies tonight in the opener of a three-game
series at Coors Field.
The Pirates matched a franchise record for a nine-inning game with 17
strikeouts in Sunday's 4-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in the finale of a
three-game series at Miller Park. Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo fanned 14
Pittsburgh batters en route to the victory, while Pirates starter A.J. Burnett
had his personal winning streak stopped with seven innings of four-run ball.
Burnett was 9-0 over his last 12 starts and hadn't lost since May 2 at St.
"That's probably the best stuff I've had in a long time," Burnett said on the
club's website. "I tried to minimize the damage the best I could, but a couple
runs in the sixth, that's the ballgame."
Andrew McCutchen, who leads the majors in hitting with a .371 average, homered
for the fourth consecutive game for the Pirates, who dropped a series for the
first time since they were swept by the Baltimore Orioles June 12-14. The All-
Star outfielder is batting .560 with seven home runs, 19 runs scored and 16
RBI in the past 12 games.
Pittsburgh has still won 11 of its last 15 contests and sits one game behind
Cincinnati for the NL Central lead. Neil Walker went 1-for-4 Sunday to extend
his hitting streak to 15 games. He is three games shy of his career-best
hitting streak established in 2010.
Jeff Karstens draws the start for the Buccos tonight and he has won back-to-
back trips to the hill. He recently held Houston scoreless through eight
innings and struck out eight in a 2-0 win on July 5, improving to 2-2 in six
starts and lowering his earned run average to 3.94.
Karstens has made three career relief appearances against Colorado and the
right-hander has no record and a 3.52 ERA over 7 2/3 innings.
Colorado lost two in a row to Philadelphia after winning three of four games,
and will resume its six-game homestand Monday.
In Sunday's 5-1 setback to the Phillies in the finale of a three-game series,
Drew Pomeranz took the loss and was tagged for five runs and five hits in five
innings of work. He allowed a three-run homer to Hunter Pence in the fifth.
"If I could go back again, I probably would have thrown something different,"
Carlos Gonzalez drove in a run and Dexter Fowler added two hits in defeat. The
Rockies went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded five.
Taking the mound for Colorado tonight will be Jeff Francis. The lefty, in his
second go-around with the club, is 2-2 with a 5.19 ERA in seven starts and had
a personal two-game winning streak stopped in a 4-1 loss at Washington on July
7. Francis lasted five innings and gave up three runs and six hits.
Francis has made six career starts against Pittsburgh, going 3-3 with a lofty
6.88 earned run average.
Colorado dropped two of three meetings with Pittsburgh at PNC Park in April.
07/16 10:40:08 ET