(SportsNetwork.com) - A.J. Burnett will face one of his former clubs on Tuesday night when the Pittsburgh Pirates resume a four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Following two straight seasons with the Pirates, Burnett spent 2014 with the Phillies and went 8-18 with a 4.59 earned run average in 34 starts. He then declined a player option with the club at season's end, taking less money to return to Pittsburgh.
He has bounced back to pitch to a 1.66 ERA in six starts this season, allowing two runs or fewer in each outing, but the right-hander is aiming for just his second win of the campaign tonight.
Burnett followed up his lone loss this season on April 14 to the Detroit Tigers with three straight no-decisions as the Pirates failed to score more than two runs in any of his first five outings. That changed on Thursday versus Cincinnati and Burnett was rewarded with a 7-2 win as he held the Reds to a pair of runs over a season high-tying seven innings.
The 38-year-old scattered seven hits and two walks and his ERA actually rose from 1.45.
Burnett is 6-9 with a 5.00 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) against the Phillies.
Sean O'Sullivan returns to the Phillies rotation tonight, having not made a start in the majors since April 17 because of left knee tendinitis.
The 27-year-old righty made two starts before his injury, both against the Washington Nationals, and allowed six runs, 10 hits and three homers over a combined 11 innings. He went 0-1 over the starts with a 4.91 ERA.
O'Sullivan has never started against the Pirates and has thrown just one inning of relief against them over his career.
The Pirates evened their season record at 16-16 with last night's 4-3 victory in the opener of this series. Gerrit Cole pitched seven strong innings and Starling Marte hit a three-run homer.
Cole gave up two runs, six hits and two walks, and struck out six to remain unbeaten on the road in his last seven starts.
"Good starts are nice," said Cole. "Whatever the numbers may be, we are just trying to win ball games."
Gregory Polanco was 2-for-4 with a walk and scored two runs in the Pirates' third straight victory.
Philadelphia pulled within a run when Odubel Herrera hit the first homer of his major league career, a solo blast to right field in the ninth off Mark Melancon. The Pirates closer gave up a one-out single to Carlos Ruiz, but retired the next two batters to earn his eighth save of the season.
Grady Sizemore had two RBI singles for the Phillies, who fell to 1-3 on their 10-game homestand and have lost 10 and 13 overall.
Phillies starter Jerome Williams needed 85 pitches to get through five innings. He gave up four hits, all for extra bases, including the Marte home run, and walked two.
"I left the curveball up and he hit it out," said Williams of Marte's shot. "It was just one bad pitch."
The Pirates have won seven of eight and 13 of their last 17 versus the Phillies. They are 9-2 in their past 11 trips to Philadelphia.