After slowing down one of the hottest teams in the majors, the Pittsburgh Pirates are on the verge of their longest win streak of the season.
A.J. Burnett will try to deliver that fourth straight victory while building on a superb outing Monday night against the Philadelphia Phillies .
Pittsburgh has won nine of 12 since its 1-5 start and took three of four over Atlanta to wrap up this past week. The Braves entered that series with baseball's best record (12-2) and won 6-4 in Thursday's series opener at PNC Park.
The Pirates (10-8) then outscored Atlanta 13-3 over the final three games and Clint Barmes broke out of an 0-for-14 slump in a 4-2 win Sunday with a pair of RBI singles, including the tiebreaking one in the sixth inning.
"We're capable of playing very good baseball, and we just did that on this (nine-game) homestand," manager Clint Hurdle told the team's website.
Hurdle's team will try to keep rolling on a 10-game road trip and Burnett (1-2, 2.63 ERA) will attempt to help with another stellar effort.
The veteran right-hander gave up his lone hit to St. Louis in the seventh inning Wednesday in a 5-0 victory. Burnett also walked none and fanned eight, and ranks first in the NL with 35 strikeouts.
"I'll take that every time out," Hurdle said. "That's the rhythm when he's the beast that he can be, that's the rhythm you see. ... You couldn't ask for any more than we got out of him."
Burnett won his only start against Philadelphia (8-11) in 2012 after going 2-6 with an 8.92 ERA in his previous eight matchups, including two in the 2009 World Series while with the New York Yankees . He gave up three runs in 6 2-3 innings and struck out seven in a 5-4 victory at Citizens Bank Park on June 28.
In this matchup, Burnett is slated to pitch opposite Jonathan Pettibone, who is making his major league debut. The right-hander is taking the place of the injured John Lannan in the rotation.
The 22-year-old Pettibone, one of the Phillies' top prospects and son of former major leaguer Jay Pettibone , went 13-8 with a 3.10 ERA in 26 starts at two different levels in 2012. He was 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA in two starts at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season.
"Hopefully he's got enough weapons and guile to pitch well for us," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the team's website. "He's got a pretty good arsenal. We'll see how he competes."
Philadelphia had dropped six of eight after a season-high three consecutive victories April 9-12 before winning 7-3 in Sunday's series finale with St. Louis. Ben Revere singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and Erik Kratz followed with a three-run homer.
"We're not quite there yet. Hopefully, tonight got it started," manager Charlie Manuel said.
Michael Young also extended his hit streak to 12 games. Young is 9 for 36 (.250) with six strikeouts against Burnett but is hitting .391 (18 for 46) in 12 all-time games versus the Pirates.
Pittsburgh's Travis Snider has also been locked in at the plate, batting .429 (12 for 28) with six doubles during an eight-game hitting streak.
The Pirates haven't won four straight since July 25-28.
|April 09, 2013||Wandy Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Left game - left leg strain|
|March 26, 2013||Brandon Inge||15-Day DL||Right scapula soreness|
|March 22, 2013||Francisco Liriano||15-Day DL||Fractured right forearm|
|March 22, 2013||Jeff Karstens||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Charlie Morton||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 20, 2013||Chase d'Arnaud||60-Day DL||Left thumb surgery|
|April 18, 2013||John Lannan||15-Day DL||Strained left quadriceps tendon|
|March 22, 2013||Delmon Young||15-Day DL||Recovery from right ankle surgery|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A promotion to the big leagues was all Jonathan Pettibone needed to get hitters out.
Jimmy Rollins hit a tiebreaking single in the sixth inning, Pettibone had an impressive major league debut and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 Monday night.
Pettibone allowed two runs and six hits, striking out six in 5 1-3 innings. The righty was pulled after 83 pitches and didn't get a decision.
Filling in for injured lefty John Lannan , the 22-year-old Pettibone was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley after going 0-2 with a 9.20 ERA in three starts.
He fared better against big league batters.
"My game plan was to be aggressive, go after guys," he said. "I have to pitch to my strengths. Once I got on the mound, the nerves were flying. Once I settled down, I got in a rhythm."
Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin hit solo homers for the Pirates.
On a chilly night when the temperature dipped below 50 degrees, the Phillies scratched out their second straight win to improve to 9-11.
Pirates starter A.J. Burnett gave up two runs and five hits, fanning seven in five innings.
"It was a grind all night," Burnett said. "Sometimes I had it, sometimes I didn't."
Jared Hughes (1-2) retired the first two batters he faced in the sixth before running into trouble.
Hughes walked Erik Kratz . Pinch-hitter Ezequiel Carrera then reached on an infield single, diving headfirst into first base. Rollins followed with a line-drive single to right that scored Kratz.
Raul Valdes (1-0) got two outs in the sixth to earn the win. Antonio Bastardo worked the seventh, Mike Adams tossed a perfect eighth and Jonathan Papelbon finished for his fourth save in four tries.
"We have to win the one-run games," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Garrett Jones hit a one-out double off Papelbon, but Neil Walker flied out to right and Papelbon struck out Alvarez looking to end it. Papelbon is 55 for 55 in April save chances during his career.
Alvarez gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead when he drove his third homer out to right in the second. Martin led off the fifth with a drive to left to tie it at 2.
Pettibone helped Philadelphia get its first run when he walked in his first plate appearance in the third, advanced to second on Rollins' single, went to third on a grounder and scored on a wild pitch.
The Phillies briefly took a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Michael Young led off with an infield single, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Domonic Brown walked and Ben Revere singled to load the bases.
Burnett struck out Kratz following a 10-pitch at-bat and fanned Pettibone.
But Rollins took a 2-2 pitch off his leg to force in a run. Burnett then struck out John Mayberry Jr. to end the inning.
Pettibone worked out of trouble in the first after Starling Marte led off with a double and advanced to third on a flyout. Pettibone fell behind Andrew McCutchen 3-0 before striking him out looking at a fastball on the outside corner. Mayberry then saved a run with a fully extended, diving catch on Jones' liner to right.
"That was great," Pettibone said. "Who knows what would've happened after? It was a big play."
Though Manuel wouldn't commit to it, Pettibone's sharp outing almost assures he'll stick around. The Phillies will need a fifth starter for a while.
"He made some good pitches at times," Manuel said. "He got them out when he needed to. He did fine."
NOTES: Pettibone was 13-8 with a 3.10 ERA in 26 starts last year at Double-A and Triple-A. ... Phillies C Carlos Ruiz is expected to play for Class-A Clearwater on Tuesday. An All-Star last year, Ruiz is suspended for the first 25 games for testing positive for an amphetamine. He can play five minor league games before the suspension ends. ... The Pirates extended their errorless streak to 40 innings. ... Phillies opening day starter Cole Hamels (0-2, 6.46 ERA) tries again for his first win on Tuesday night vs. LHP Jeff Locke (1-1, 5.17). ... Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle struck out 16 in seven shutout innings of one-hit ball for Double-A Reading in a 3-2 victory at Harrisburg. The 21-year-old lefty from Philadelphia was selected 27th overall in the 2010 amateur draft.
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