Burnett hopes for some run support vs. Reds

A.J. Burnett hopes for a little run support on Friday when the Pittsburgh Pirates open a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park.

The Pirates have managed just one run in his two starts this season, but they haven't crossed the plate at home with Burnett on the mound since the fourth inning of an Aug. 27 start -- five starts and 36 innings ago.

"I don't worry about run support," Burnett said. "That's beyond my control. That's when we get into trouble, when we start pointing fingers, start finding excuses. My job is to keep my team in the game -- 'til that man (Clint Hurdle) takes me out of the game -- no matter what the score is."

Burnett again received zero support his last time out on Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, as he allowed a run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. Unfortunately, Dodgers' ace Clayton Kershaw was even better and Burnett fell to 0-2 to go along with a 3.27 ERA.

"That's a pitchers' duel right there," Burnett said. "I was going up against one of the best, so I tried to follow what he was doing. It was my first time pitching against him -- the first time really seeing him. It fires me up to be in a game like that."

In 11 innings this young season, Burnett has surrendered four runs -- and fanned 19. He has two losses.

Burnett, who is 5-5 against the Reds with a 4.06 ERA, could be in for another long night, as Pittsburgh owns the worst offense in the majors, batting .153, and only Miami (16) has scored less runs than the Pirates' 21.

Pittsburgh was denied a sweep in its three-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks, as it dropped the finale, 10-2 at Chase Field.

Starling Marte and Josh Harrison each had an RBI for the Pirates, who saw starter Jonathan Sanchez (0-2) struggle. He lasted 3 1/3 innings and gave up nine runs on eight hits and four walks.

"There wasn't one pitch that was as sharp as LA, but we have got to get the ball in," said Hurdle. "All of our pitchers have to get the ball in, that's part of our program.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, was embarrassed by the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, falling, 10-0, at in the rubber match of the three-game set from Busch Stadium.

Homer Bailey (1-1) allowed seven runs on nine hits and three walks over five frames for Cincinnati, which dropped the final two games of the set after winning the opener.

"Their pitching shut us down," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker admitted. "Westbrook was tough today. It makes it tough to score runs and makes it tough to beat the opposition."

Getting the call for the Reds on Friday will be righty Mike Leake, who failed to get a decision his first time out. Leake, though, did not pitch well against Washington, as the Nationals reached him for four runs and six hits six innings. He also walked four batters in the 7-6 loss.

In 11 starts versus the Pirates Leake is 2-3 with a 3.20 ERA.

The Reds went 11-7 against the Pirates last year