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Philadelphia at Pittsburgh

Venue: PNC Park
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It appears the Pittsburgh Pirates paid a small price for their ninth straight victory, as a brief bullpen session in the 14th inning from Jeff Locke has them in need of a starter for their opener against Philadelphia.

The Pirates' track record of plugging holes in their rotation, however, couldn't be much more successful.

Heading into July with the best record in baseball, Pittsburgh looks for its first 10-game winning streak in nine years Tuesday night when it hosts the Phillies.

Locke is the only starter in the Pirates' current rotation that opened the season in that position, but the left-hander will get a little extra rest after warming up in the 14th on Sunday before Pittsburgh escaped that same inning with a 2-1 win over Milwaukee.

A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald are on the disabled list while Jonathan Sanchez is no longer with the organization, but the Pirates (51-30) haven't panicked. Locke has the third-best ERA in baseball while Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton have stepped in to provide a cumulative 2.71 ERA in 18 starts.

While those three are all seen as more permanent fixtures, Pittsburgh is also 10-1 in games started by Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.76 ERA), Brandon Cumpton (0-0, 3.60) and Phil Irwin. The former two are candidates to start Tuesday, as is Morton (1-1, 2.50), who only pitched two innings in his Saturday start due to a lengthy rain delay.

Regardless of who gets the ball, the Pirates should feel confident. Pittsburgh has the best ERA in the majors (3.11), ranking in the top three both in the rotation (3.30) and out of the bullpen (2.84).

"Their pitching is outstanding," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke told MLB's official website. "I see why their ERAs are where they are, because every guy out of the bullpen has good stuff. It's located well. They have off-speed stuff, fastballs, their pitching staff is really good."

The starters have a 2.36 ERA during the franchise's longest winning streak since a 10-game run in 2004, while the bullpen is riding a 20-inning scoreless streak. The Pirates' relief corps gave up only four hits over 18 frames in the sweep of Milwaukee.

"It's fun right now,'' catcher Russell Martin said. "Obviously, winning is fun, but just being on a team with a bunch of guys who play with their hearts out there and enjoy the game, it's definitely been a pleasure.''

The bullpen had a 1.35 ERA while Pittsburgh took the final three in a four-game series at Philadelphia in late April, including come-from-behind wins in the last two.

The Phillies (39-44) dropped to 9-14 after that series finale, and they're back at their low-water mark of the season after a 6-1 loss in Los Angeles on Sunday. Philadelphia outscored the Dodgers 24-17 in the four-game set thanks to Friday's 16-1 win, but lost the other three.

The Phillies are 9 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East and nearly that far out in the wild-card race.

"We've been in much tougher positions with much less time," shortstop Jimmy Rollins told the team's official website. "... Last I checked, we haven't made it to the All-Star break yet."

Rookie Jonathan Pettibone (3-3, 4.17), who gave up two runs over 5 1-3 in his major league debut against the Pirates on April 22, will try again for his first win since May 14. The right-hander gave up three runs in the first inning Thursday against the Dodgers, but retired the final 15 batters he faced.

Pettibone has a 6.39 ERA in six road starts.

Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez took Pettibone deep in April, and Alvarez is coming off one of the best months of his career, hitting .309 with an NL best-tying 10 homers.

Philadelphia's Ryan Howard, on the other hand, can't wait to forget about the end of June. He is hitless in 20 consecutive at-bats with 11 strikeouts.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Jonathan Pettibone, RHP
2013 stats
73.1 Innings Pitched 96.1
3-3 Wins-Losses 7-1
4.17 Earned Run Average 2.06
23 Walks 41
43 Strikeouts 67
94 Pitches Per Start 93
Career vs. opponent
5.1 Innings Pitched 6.0
0-0 Wins-Losses 1-0
3.38 Earned Run Average 0.00

Jeff Locke, LHP
Weather
weather image  Isolated tstorms. Cloudy. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
83°F67°F7mph/S60%41%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Philadelphia4th NL East7086.44921 ½ 5-5 L 1
Pittsburgh3rd NL Central7778.497226-4 L 2
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Jeff Locke
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Mayberry31001.333
Howard31002.333
Brown100000
De Fratus000000
Diekman000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Jonathan Pettibone
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Martin221001.000
Alvarez21101.500
Barmes21001.500
Walker21001.500
Marte31000.333
 

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Injuries
Philadelphia
PlayerInjury
M. AppelElbow
J. CorderoShoulder
J. CrawfordKnee
Z. EflinKnee
T. GoeddelConcussion
M. HarrisonBack
M. ImhofEye
C. MortonHamstring
A. NolaElbow
A. PullinElbow
J. ThompsonNot Injury Related
V. VelasquezRest
Pittsburgh
PlayerInjury
G. ColeElbow
B. CumptonElbow
E. DiazLeg
N. FelizArm
J. HarrisonGroin
K. HayesRibs
S. MarteBack
A. MeadowsOblique
G. PolancoFace
C. SadlerForearm
A. SchugelShoulder
C. StewartKnee
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
May 2PITCHC 7-2Hammel Cole 
May 3PITCHC 7-1Arrieta Niese 
May 4PITCHC 6-2Lester Nicasio 
May 13CHCCHC 9-4Hammel Liriano 
May 14CHCCHC 8-2Arrieta Locke 
May 15CHCPIT 2-1Cole Lester 
Jun 17CHCCHC 6-0Arrieta Liriano 
Jun 18CHCCHC 4-3Lester Niese 
Jun 19CHCCHC 10-5Hendricks Taillon 
Jul 8PITPIT 8-4Feliz Arrieta 
Jul 9PITPIT 12-6Caminero Warren 
Jul 10PITCHC 6-5Strop Watson 
Aug 29CHCCHC 8-7Zastryzny Locke 
Aug 30CHCCHC 3-0Hendricks Kuhl 
Aug 31CHCCHC 6-5Hammel Vogelsong 
Sep 26PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 27PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 28PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 29PIT 7:05 PM EDT