Astros-Pirates preview

PITTSBURGH -- After losing their past three games, the Pittsburgh Pirates will try to turn things around when they open a three-game series against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on Monday.

The Pirates (62-59) will enter the series after being swept by the Miami Marlins over the weekend, while the Astros (64-60) won their past three games, against the Baltimore Orioles.

"It's a snapshot of the way a baseball seasons goes," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "You're out on the road and go 5-1 then you come home and get swept in a series in which you have a chance to win each game. All you can do is come back and keep playing."

Jameson Taillon (3-2, 3.00) will look to keep his recent streak of impressive starts for Pittsburgh going against right-handed pitcher Doug Fister (11-8, 3.76). Taillon has surrendered three earned runs or less in each of his past seven starts since allowing four and going four innings in two straight appearances on June 19 and 24.

The Pirates have won in seven of Taillon's past eight starts since losing in two of his first three. He last appeared against the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 16, when he allowed three earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts in six innings.

In his previous start against the San Diego Padres on Aug. 11, Taillon pitched an eight-inning gem, surrendering three hits and two walks in a 4-0 Pirates win.

If the Pirates want to provide Taillon some breathing room, third baseman Josh Harrison could be the guy to look toward. Harrison had been red-hot lately before seeing a six-game hitting streak come to an end in a 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins on Sunday.

While the rest of the Pirates' offense floundered in a 3-1 loss to the Marlins on Saturday, Harrison recorded three of their four hits and drove in their lone run on a single in the eighth inning.

Harrison has hit safely in eight of his past 10 games.

Astros Cuban prospect Yulieski Gurriel, 32, made his major league debut as Houston's designated hitter against the Baltimore on Sunday after being called up the night before. He went 1-for-2 with one walk while batting sixth Sunday and it will have to be seen if he cracks the lineup again and plays in the field in Pittsburgh on Monday.

"Things haven't been perfect for him," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said, according to the Houston Chronicle. "We've bounced him all around the country but physically -- from a baseball standpoint -- he's ready and he's ready for this challenge. So, to add him to this group is certainly exciting for us. ... His baseball readiness -- he's in shape ready to go."

Houston optioned infielder Tyler White to Triple-A Fresno on Saturday to make room for Gurriel on the 25-man active roster. Gurriel went 4-for-18 with a home run, double and two RBIs in four games with Fresno.

"We have high expectations about him and heard he's a good player, good guy," second baseman Jose Altuve told the Houston Chronicle. "I can't wait to play next to him."