The Pittsburgh Pirates will vie for a sweep of their three-game series with the visiting Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon. Pittsburgh, which trails Cincinnati by one-half game in the National League Central, made it two straight with a 5-1 triumph on Saturday – improving to a major league-best 31-14 at home with its 20th win in its last 24 games at PNC Park. The Pirates remained on top in the National League in home runs this month with 26 despite being kept in the ballpark.
Pittsburgh accomplished an impressive feat Saturday, scoring four runs in the fourth inning without the benefit of a hit. It became the first team to do so since Oakland on Sept. 23, 1998 at Seattle. Meanwhile, Miami continued to struggle with runners in scoring position. The Marlins went 1-for-6 in the defeat and are 2-for-29 during their four-game losing streak. Miami has lost 12 of 16 on the road and are likely to be without third baseman Hanley Ramirez for a third straight game due to a swollen and infected right hand.
Marlins Pirates Betting
When: 1:35 PM ET, Sunday, July 22, 2012
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), Root Sports (Pittsburgh)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Anibal Sanchez (5-6, 3.95 ERA) vs. Pirates RH Jeff Karstens (2-2, 4.15)
Sanchez will be making his fourth consecutive start on the road. He settled for no-decisions in Milwaukee and St. Louis before notching a victory over the Cubs in Chicago on Tuesday, when he allowed one earned run over seven innings. The 28-year-old has won two straight decisions after losing six of his previous seven. Sanchez lost to the Pirates at home on May 14 despite yielding only three runs in seven frames.
Karstens, who had made just two of his seven starts this season at home, is coming off a no-decision Monday at Colorado in which he allowed four runs over seven innings. The 29-year-old yielded a total of two runs over 15 frames in his previous two outings. Karstens will be making his fifth start following a two-month stay on the disabled list.
1. Sanchez is 2-2 with a 2.17 ERA and one shutout in four career starts against Pittsburgh.
2. Pittsburgh leads the National League and is tied with Detroit for first in the majors with 94 runs scored in July.
3. Pirates RHP Brad Lincoln recorded his first save Saturday in 26 career relief appearances.