The Pittsburgh Pirates hope unlikely ace James McDonald can keep up his impressive season and help the Pirates stay hot when they continue a three-game interleague series against the visiting Kansas City Royals. The Pirates have own 10 of 13 overall and nine of 12 at PNC Park after beating the Royals 4-2 on Friday. They are two games behind Cincinnati for the National League Central lead.
The Royals have lost two straight and four of six, and their offense has gone quiet of late. They’ve scored a total of five runs in their past three games and have scored three or fewer runs in six of their past seven. Pittsburgh has the worst interleague record in the majors at 83-132 but are 11-13 overall and 9-7 at home against Kansas City.
Royals Pirates Betting
When: 7:15 PM ET, Saturday, June 9, 2012
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, Fox
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Vin Mazzaro (2-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. Pirates RH James McDonald (5-2, 2.14)
Mazzaro has bobbed between Triple-A and the majors for the past month, but he has enjoyed success in three big-league starts. He won at Texas on May 15 before being sent back down and won his first start upon rejoining the major-league club by throwing six scoreless innings against Oakland on Sunday. Mazzaro has never faced the Pirates.
McDonald’s career year kept rolling along Sunday at Milwaukee, as he held the Brewers to three runs (one earned) over six innings to win his second straight start and third straight decision. The 27-year-old holds the second-best ERA in the majors behind Atlanta’s Brandon Beachy, and he has not lost since a tough-luck defeat May 11 against Houston in which he allowed one run in eight innings in a 1-0 game. He has never faced the Royals.
1. Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer is riding a 10-game hitting streak. He is 11-for-34 (.324) during the streak.
2. Pirates 1B Garrett Jones is 9-for-24 (.375) during his seven-game hitting streak.
3. McDonald has struck out seven or more in seven of his last eight starts.