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Pittsburgh at Cleveland

Venue: Progressive Field
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The Pittsburgh Pirates more or less know what to expect from budding superstar Andrew McCutchen, but the rest of their lineup offers little in the way of reliable options.

To have any chance of staying in contention, they'll likely need Casey McGehee and Pedro Alvarez to fill that void.

A day after combining for three homers to stop the Pirates' four-game skid, McGehee and Alvarez look to lead Pittsburgh to a rare interleague road series win in Sunday's finale against the Cleveland Indians.

McCutchen appears to be well on his way to being selected to his second All-Star team with a .922 OPS that ranks among the NL's 10 best, but the Pirates (33-31) have scored the majors' fewest runs (213) and have an on-base percentage (.282) that's on pace to be baseball's worst in 44 years.

They didn't have any of those problems Saturday. Pittsburgh tied season highs with eight walks and four homers, with Alvarez going deep twice in a 9-2 rout of the Indians.

"It's not about the homers, but about having better at-bats," manager Clint Hurdle said as the Pirates improved to 23-5 when scoring four runs. "It is what is going on underneath the helmet than the swings."

Pittsburgh's been trying to figure out what's going on underneath Alvarez's helmet for a while, as the former No. 2 overall pick is hitting .196 and striking out in 35.4 percent of his at-bats. But the Pirates are 19-9 when he gets a hit.

McGehee has hit directly in front of him the past four days, and the offseason acquisition from Milwaukee seems to be hitting his stride. McGehee is 9 for 18 with two homers and four walks in his last five games.

That's as many hits as he'd had in his previous 64 at-bats.

"When you come to a new team, you want to make an impact," McGehee said. "I took a step back and tried to relax, put up better at bats. I just feel more comfortable."

The Pirates, looking to capture their second road series against an AL team in their last 21, might not feel too confident Sunday considering they've never faced Jeanmar Gomez (4-5, 4.71 ERA). The right-hander, though, is 1-3 with a 7.84 ERA in his last four starts.

Gomez gave up two runs and walked four while allowing six hits in five innings of Tuesday's 7-1 loss at Cincinnati.

That lack of support has been nothing new for Cleveland pitchers. The Indians (33-31) have scored 17 runs in their last seven games and are hitting .085 with runners in scoring position during that stretch after going 0 for 8 Saturday.

"That's what it is. Our lineup right now - we're battling," manager Manny Acta told the team's official website. "That's all we can do."

Facing Brad Lincoln (3-2, 3.15) might be a good way to emerge from that slump. Though he has a 0.45 ERA in 13 relief appearances, the right-hander's recent turn in the rotation isn't going well. He hasn't made it out of the fifth in his last two starts, and Tuesday was charged with four runs and nine hits over 4 1-3 innings in an 8-6 loss at Baltimore.

"We need him to pitch better and he knows that," Hurdle said. "... We haven't seen the velocity the last couple times. We need to get him back on track - and we're going to keep him in the rotation."

Lincoln gave up three runs - two on a Carlos Santana homer - over six innings June 20, 2010, in his lone start against Cleveland.

Santana is 6 for 39 (.154) with nine walks in 11 games since returning from a concussion.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Probable Starters

Brad Lincoln, RHP
2012 stats
34.1 Innings Pitched 63.0
3-2 Wins-Losses 4-5
3.15 Earned Run Average 4.71
11 Walks 23
34 Strikeouts 31
78 Pitches Per Start 88
Career vs. opponent
6.0 Innings Pitched -
0-0 Wins-Losses ---
4.50 Earned Run Average -

Jeanmar Gomez, RHP
Weather
weather image  Thunderstorms. Cloudy. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
85°F69°F14mph/S56%86%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Pittsburgh3rd NL Central7064.52236-4 W 3
Cleveland3rd AL Central6964.5194 ½ 7-3 W 2
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Jeanmar Gomez
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Barajas000000
Barmes000000
Bedard000000
Burnett000000
Correia000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Brad Lincoln
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Santana331001.000
Cabrera000000
Chisenhall000000
Choo100100
Cunningham000000
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Pittsburgh 125 Cleveland -135
Injuries
Pittsburgh
PlayerInjury
P. AlvarezFoot
C. MortonHernia
S. PimentelAnkle
T. SniderHamstring
Cleveland
PlayerInjury
J. GiambiKnee
N. MorganKnee
D. MurphyAbdominal
R. RaburnWrist
N. SwisherKnee
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 21CLECLE 4-3McAllister Guthrie 
Apr 22CLEKC 8-2Shields Salazar 
Apr 23CLECLE 5-3Shaw Herrera 
Apr 24CLECLE 5-1Kluber Chen 
Jun 10KCKC 9-5Vargas Kluber 
Jun 11KCKC 4-1Ventura Bauer 
Jul 4CLEKC 7-1Ventura Tomlin 
Jul 5CLECLE 7-3House Guthrie 
Jul 6CLECLE 4-1Kluber Duffy 
Jul 24KCKC 2-1Crow Rzepczynski 
Jul 25KCKC 6-4Herrera Carrasco 
Jul 26KCKC 7-5Guthrie McAllister 
Jul 27KCCLE 10-3Salazar Chen 
Aug 29KCCLE 6-1Salazar Vargas 
Aug 30KC 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 31KC 8:07 PM EDT  
Sep 22CLE 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 23CLE 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 24CLE 7:05 PM EDT