Tigers, Pirates resume set in the Steel City
(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers will square off at PNC Park this afternoon for the second test of a three-game weekend set.
The Pirates took game one of the series, 4-1, and have now won five of their last six games.
A.J. Burnett (8-2) continued his resurgence in Pittsburgh, pitching six scoreless innings while allowing just two hits. Minus the 12 earned run debacle against the Cardinals on May 2, Burnett has been dominant this season, allowing a total of 15 earned runs in 72 1/13 innings over his 11 other starts.
"He relied a lot on his experience, a lot on his catcher and a lot on making pitches," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He kept them from scoring, kept them from crossing the plate and you can't ask for more than that."
The Pirates scored all four of their runs in the first two innings and never looked back. Andrew McCutchen went 3-4, raising his average to .346.
Joel Hanrahan pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save.
Doug Fister (1-4) was saddled with the loss. He allowed four runs in six innings of work, though only two runs were earned. He also struck out seven.
The Tigers collected just four hits, with Ramon Santiago knocking in the only run.
For this afternoon's game, the Tigers send hard-throwing right-hander Max Scherzer to the hill. Scherzer sports a 6-4 record and is third in the American League with 100 strikeouts. He isn't without his struggles, however, as he posts an ugly ERA of 5.17.
Despite his ups and downs, Scherzer has shown the ability to be dominant, as he was on Sunday against Colorado, when he pitched eight scoreless innings while striking out 12 without walking a batter. It was his first scoreless outing of the year.
"He really overmatched them," Tiger manager Jim Leyland said of Scherzer's last outing. "He attacked the strike zone with outstanding stuff. He was throwing 97-98 (mph) with a good slider, changeup, and command of the strike zone."
The right-hander should be happy to be facing the Pirates again, as he put together a masterful performance against them back on May 20, going seven innings while allowing just four hits and two runs and striking out a career- high 15.
The Pirates will counter with Brad Lincoln, who was nearly unhittable as a reliever this year, but hasn't been great since being inserted into the rotation.
In Lincoln's three starts since June 6, he has gone 0-2 while allowing 13 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings, raising his ERA from 1.04 to 3.82 in the process.
The right-hander pitched in two games against the Tigers earlier this year in relief, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out four.