Several winning streaks will be on the line Tuesday when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates continue their four-game series.
Chad Billingsley will aim to win his fifth consecutive start and lead the Dodgers to their eighth straight victory over the Pirates, but Los Angeles must get the better of Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia, who has won seven straight decisions and six starts in a row.
The Dodgers (63-53) improved to 4-0 in the season series and beat Pittsburgh (64-51) for a seventh consecutive time overall with a 5-4 win Monday night to open this week's set. Shane Victorino hit his first homer in a Los Angeles uniform while Matt Kemp added a pair of hits in the victory, the club's fourth in five games.
"I just keep plugging along," said Victorino, who had last homered July 29 in his final game before being traded by Philadelphia. "There's nothing different that I've done. You know when you've got confidence and you feel good at the plate, yeah, things kind of keep going that way. So hopefully I can keep it going that way but I'm not thinking about it anything, just going out there and taking it one game, one at bat at a time."
Billingsley (8-9, 3.84 ERA) will now try to win a fifth straight start for the first time in his career. He's won four consecutive starts three other times, most recently May 10-26, 2010.
The current run represents a strong return from injury for the right-hander, who has posted a 2.02 ERA his last four outings. He'd gone 0-5 with a 6.21 ERA in his previous five starts, after which he went on the disabled list with elbow pain
Billingsley is 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five starts against the Pirates since the start of 2010. He wasn't his sharpest Wednesday against Colorado, allowing four runs over 6 1-3 innings, but got credit for a 6-4 win.
Correia (9-6, 4.49) has been far from dominant lately. He hasn't lasted longer than six innings in any outing since May, and his performance was underwhelming enough that Pirates manager Clint Hurdle removed him from the rotation after the club acquired Wandy Rodriguez last month.
After a brief bullpen hiatus, Correia got another chance to start Wednesday. He gave up four runs - three earned - in six innings against Arizona, but that was good enough to earn a 7-6 victory, his seventh straight win over nine starts.
"We're here to please the people who make the decisions of when you get to play and when you don't," Correia told the Pirates' official website. "Obviously, I hadn't pitched in a couple weeks in a start, and I still felt pretty good... For the most part I felt like I had my pitches when I needed them."
The right-hander has also won six starts in a row, posting a pedestrian 4.76 ERA in that stretch but benefiting from an average of 8.47 runs in support.
Pittsburgh suffered its fourth loss in five games Monday despite the best efforts of Garrett Jones, who had four hits and drove in three of the Pirates' four runs. He is batting .395 in August, with six multihit performances in 12 games.
Jones could be primed for another strong night at the plate Tuesday, as he is 4 for 9 with two doubles, five walks and a .643 on-base percentage versus Billingsley.