Pirates try to sweep away Angels, stay on track

The Pittsburgh Pirates will try to close out a road sweep of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Sunday when the clubs square off at Angel Stadium.

Thanks largely to a trio of home runs, the Pirates were able to take down the Angels on Saturday, 6-1.

Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Gaby Sanchez all left the yard for the home team. Alvarez, who finished 2-for-4 on the night, has now gone deep in three straight games and has 18 homers on the year.

Francisco Liriano continued his fantastic season in the win, allowing one earned run while striking out six in 6 2/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 2.30 in the process.

For the Angels, Jerome Williams was knocked around in defeat, yielding eight hits, two walks and five runs (four earned).

Mike Trout drove home the Angels' only run with an RBI single in the seventh inning. He also stole his 17th base of the year.

On Sunday, the Pirates will turn to Charlie Morton, who recently returned to the rotation a year removed from Tommy John surgery.

After earning the loss in his season debut on June 13, Morton bounced back with a win on June 18 against the Reds, pitching 5 1/3 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 1.74.

"Fortunately the few times they hit it really hard, they hit it at people," Morton said of his latest start, which he surrendered just three hits and zero walks.

The 29-year-old New Jersey native has faced the Angels just once before, earning a win in his Major League debut on June 14, 2008 as a member of the Braves.

Los Angeles will call on Joe Blanton to try to improve upon his disastrous season, as he sits with a dreadful 1-10 record and a 5.62 ERA.

Blanton has been pitching better of late, however. He allowed just two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings while striking out 11 in a no-decision versus Seattle on June 18. He also struck out 11 in a June 3 loss to Houston.

Blanton has been hit hard at home this season, allowing 62 hits in 42 2/3 innings at Angel Stadium. He is 2-2 in seven games (6 starts) against the Pirates.