(SportsNetwork.com) - A.J. Burnett has done just about everything right this season -- except get a win. The veteran right-hander tries to change that on Thursday when the Pittsburgh Pirates close out a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park.
Burnett has allowed one run or fewer in four of his five starts this season and in the other one he surrendered just two. Still, he has yet to win (0-1), but is pitching to a 1.45 ERA.
The veteran right-hander had little help from his offense on Friday in St. Louis, as he scattered two hits and struck out seven over six scoreless innings, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 2-1 loss.
"Six is all right, but I need to mix some sevens and eights in there and go a little further, stretch out more," Burnett said. "But for six, I was able to mix it in, to keep them off balance."
The 38-year-old also passed the legendary Sandy Koufax on the all-time strikeout list.
"That only means I'm old, man," Burnett said.
"That means a lot to me, because that's pretty much what I've pitched for all these years," said Burnett, a power pitcher for most of his career. "I want to win ball games, of course, but to still be able to do this at this age with some success, it means a lot."
Burnett has faced the Reds 17 times and is 7-6 against them with a 3.69 ERA.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, turns to righty Anthony DeScalfini, who has dropped his last two starts. DeScalfini gave up four runs and four hits with five walks over five innings in Atlanta on Friday to fall to 2-2 on the year to go along with a 2.03 ERA.
"I fell behind a lot of guys and didn't get back in the count," said DeSclafani. "I don't remember the last time I walked five guys. I have to do a better job, for sure."
Cincinnati won again on Wednesday, as Mike Leake was excellent over eight innings to help the Reds to a 3-0 shutout.
Leake (2-1), who held Atlanta scoreless for eight innings in his last start, scattered six hits, did not walk a batter and also knocked in a run against the Pirates.
"He was great," Reds manager Bryan Price said of his starter. "You could see early on that he had control of both sides of the plate."
Marlon Byrd homered and Brandon Phillips had three hits with an RBI for the Reds, who have won seven straight against Pittsburgh.
Gerrit Cole (4-1), April's National League Pitcher of the Month, allowed three runs on eight hits over five innings of work.
The Pirates have lost five straight overall.