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Pittsburgh at St. Louis

Venue: Busch Stadium

The Pittsburgh Pirates' A.J. Burnett was at his best against the St. Louis Cardinals last week, but his most recent outing at Busch Stadium was definitely one to forget.

The veteran right-hander seeks a better performance in St. Louis on Saturday as he faces the only team he's beaten this season, looking to prevent the Cardinals from matching their longest win streak of the past year.

Burnett (1-2, 2.79 ERA) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against St. Louis on April 17 before giving up a two-out double to Carlos Beltran. He retired the next batter and did not return for the eighth in the 5-0 victory, recording what remains his longest outing of the season.

"My goal every time out is to throw a no-hitter. I know they are major league hitters that I'm facing and I respect them, but my job is not to give up hits. You should go to the mound with that mindset," said Burnett, who threw his only no-hitter in 2001.

Burnett did not get a decision in his ensuing start at Philadelphia on Monday, yielding two runs over five innings in a 3-2 loss. He had seven strikeouts and leads the NL with 42.

"He threw everything but the kitchen sink at them," manager Clint Hurdle told the team's website. "It's a sign of a pretty good pitcher when he doesn't have his best stuff and he doesn't do that well, and he leaves the game and it's 2-2 in the fifth."

Burnett was far from good in his latest start at Busch Stadium, giving up a career-high 12 runs and 12 hits over 2 2-3 innings in a 12-3 loss May 2. Beltran had two three-run homers and an RBI single in that matchup against Burnett, who was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his first three starts in St. Louis.

Beltran is coming off another two-homer game, hitting one from both sides of the plate in a 9-1 rout in Friday's series opener. St. Louis is 26-7 when Beltran homers since the start of last season, including 4-1 this year.

"Every time you hit a homer and you do something positive to help the team win, it feels great," Beltran said. "Today I was able to do that twice."

His performance Friday helped end the Pirates' win streak at three and extend the Cardinals' run to four. The only longer winning streak St. Louis (14-8) has had over the last year was a five-game run June 22-26.

Allen Craig matched a season high with three RBIs, and he's batting .421 with 12 RBIs in a 10-game home hitting streak against the Pirates (13-10). Craig also was hit in the helmet by a Jonathan Sanchez pitch in first inning Friday, leading to the Pittsburgh starter and Hurdle getting ejected.

Jake Westbrook (1-1, 1.25) will try again for his 100th career victory.

After pitching a five-hit shutout in Cincinnati on April 10, the right-hander was skipped in the rotation when his scheduled start against Pittsburgh on April 16 was rained out. Working on plenty of rest, Westbrook gave up three runs over six-plus innings Sunday in Philadelphia and did not get a decision as the Cardinals lost 7-3.

He hasn't been nearly as effective in nine career starts against the Pirates, going 1-7 with a 5.91 ERA. He was tagged for seven runs and 11 hits over five innings in his most recent matchup, a 9-0 drubbing in Pittsburgh on Aug. 28.

Copyright 2015 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

A.J. Burnett, RHP
2013 stats
29.0 Innings Pitched 21.2
1-2 Wins-Losses 1-1
2.79 Earned Run Average 1.25
11 Walks 14
42 Strikeouts 8
103 Pitches Per Start 109
Career vs. opponent
77.2 Innings Pitched 61.1
6-5 Wins-Losses 1-7
3.94 Earned Run Average 5.28

Jake Westbrook, RHP
weather image  Light rain. Overcast. Cool.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Pittsburgh2nd NL Central6143.5875 ½ 7-3 W 1
St. Louis1st NL Central6738.638-6-4 W 1

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Game Odds
Pittsburgh 125 St. Louis -135
A. BurnettElbow
B. CumptonElbow
J. HarrisonThumb
C. HartShoulder
G. HernandezShoulder
A. LamboFoot
J. MercerLeg
R. ScahillForearm
J. SellersAchilles
St. Louis
M. AdamsQuadriceps
M. BelisleForearm
M. HarrisGroin
M. HollidayQuadriceps
J. JayWrist
A. WainwrightAchilles, ankle
J. WaldenShoulder
Series Game Log
Apr 10CINCIN 5-4Hoover Walden 
Apr 11CINSTL 4-1Wacha Cueto 
Apr 12CINSTL 7-5Villanueva Gregg 
Apr 17STLSTL 6-1Wacha Cueto 
Apr 18STLSTL 5-2Martinez Bailey 
Apr 19STLSTL 2-1Wainwright Leake 
Jul 27STLSTL 4-1Lynn Iglesias 
Jul 28STLCIN 4-0Leake Garcia 
Jul 29STLCIN 1-0DeSclafani Lackey 
Aug 4CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 5CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 6CIN12:35 PM EDT  
Sep 10CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 11CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 12CIN 1:05 PM EDT  
Sep 13CIN 1:10 PM EDT  
Sep 21STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Sep 22STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Sep 23STL 8:15 PM EDT