Burnett, Pirates continue set with Giants

(SportsNetwork.com) - A.J. Burnett and the Pittsburgh Pirates try to secure a quick series victory on Tuesday night when they play the middle contest of a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants.

While it wasn't his best work of the season, Burnett gets the start for the Pirates tonight having picked up a fifth straight winning start last time out.

Burnett did not allow more than two runs in any of his first nine starts before yielding five -- four earned -- over 5 2/3 innings in San Diego on Thursday. He gave up eight hits and walked two while striking out six, but his offense gave him plenty of support in an 11-5 win.

The 38-year-old righty improved to 5-1 on the year, though his earned run average jumped from 1.37 to 1.81. He is 6-3 with a 2.04 ERA in 10 career starts against the Giants.

Chris Heston eyes a fourth straight winning decision in tonight's start for the Giants. He is 5-3 on the year with a 3.82 ERA.

Heston has given up five or more runs four times this season, including in back-to-back outings in Cincinnati and Colorado on May 17 and 23, respectively. However, he picked up a victory and a no-decision in those outings before turning in a gem against Atlanta on Thursday.

The right-hander logged 7 1/3 scoreless innings of four-hit ball to beat the Braves 7-0, striking out six to just one walk. He has a 2-2 mark and 2.16 ERA in five home starts this season and faces the Pirates for the first time.

The Pirates took Monday's opener 4-3 behind an excellent outing from Gerrit Cole, who gave up just a pair of unearned runs in the first inning before shutting the Giants down for the rest of his seven-frame outing.

Cole yielded five hits and struck out nine while walking two batters to win his third straight start.

"It was a very impressive performance from start to finish," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Cole.

Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen each drove in two runs as the Pirates won for the ninth time in 11 games.

Brandon Belt knocked in two runs for the Giants, who have lost three in a row since a five-game winning streak. Ryan Vogelsong, who had won his previous four decisions, allowed four runs -- three earned -- on five hits over six innings.

This is the first series between the clubs since the Giants blanked the Pirates 8-0 to win last season's NL Wild Card Game. Pittsburgh won four of the six regular-season meetings.