The Pirates need a win today against Milwaukee to keep a couple of impressive streaks alive, including extending the longest victory string of A.J. Burnett's career.
Pittsburgh has won seven straight series against teams from the National League Central since dropping two of three against the Reds from May 4-6 at PNC Park. Pittsburgh hasn't won more than seven straight series within its own division since winning 10 straight in 1992 -- the last time the Buccos had a winning record to conclude a season.
As for Burnett, the 35-year-old right-hander is 9-0 over his last 12 starts and hasn't lost since May 2 at St. Louis. He's coming off a 13-2 win against the Giants on July 8 when he allowed four hits and a pair of runs over 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander's nine-decision win streak is the longest by a Pirates starter since Dock Ellis won 13 in a row in 1971.
Against the Brewers, Burnett holds a 2-2 mark with a 5.68 ERA in six games.
Yovani Gallardo brings with him success against the Pirates into today's rubber match of this three-game series. The Brewers righty is 7-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) vs. Pittsburgh. Gallardo has won his last four starts, posting a 0.78 ERA (23 innings, two earned runs) against the Buccos.
Gallardo's most recent appearance came July 6 at Houston when he limited the Astros to a run over six innings in a 7-1 win.
Last night, Josh Harrison crossed the plate with the go-ahead run on a passed ball in the top of the seventh inning and the Pirates held on for a 6-4 win.
Andrew McCutchen, who leads the majors with a .366 batting average, smoked a two-run home run, his third straight game with a round-tripper. Former Brewer Casey McGehee ripped a solo shot and added an RBI single for the Pirates, who have won seven of their last nine contests to stay tied with Cincinnati atop the NL Central. Neil Walker and Garrett Jones contributed two hits apiece in the victory.
"Even when we're down early, it seems we're waiting for something good to happen," McGehee said. "We're all human. I didn't have a great game last night, but today was a new day. This team does a good job of bouncing back."
Kevin Correia (6-6) went six strong innings to win his fourth straight decision to tie a career-best. He allowed four runs -- two earned -- on four hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jason Grilli pitched through trouble in the eighth and Joel Hanrahan worked around a walk in the ninth to pick up his 24th save of the season.
Corey Hart knocked in a pair of runs for the Brewers, who had won three of their last four games entering play on Saturday. Kameron Loe (4-3) took the loss after allowing two runs -- one earned -- on two hits in two-thirds of an inning.
"He threw the ball real well," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He located his fastball well and his breaking ball and changeup. It was a tough loss. They're a good team, but we can't play poorly defensively."
Walker has a 14-game hitting streak for Pittsburgh, which took two of three meetings at Miller Park from June 1-3. The Brewers, though, have won 18 of the last 24 contests between the clubs.