Veteran right-hander Kyle Lohse can continue a career's worth of success against Pittsburgh today when the St. Louis Cardinals visit PNC Park to close out a three-game weekend set with the host Pirates.
Lohse, a 33-year-old Californian, has won seven of nine decisions across 15 lifetime meetings with Pittsburgh, posting a 3.57 earned run average across 90 2/3 innings. He's allowed 89 hits and struck out 61 batters in that stretch, holding Pirates batters to a .263 average.
Lohse has been even more effective against the rest of the National League thus far in 2012 while winning two decisions in three starts.
He's surrendered just 10 hits and two runs in his initial 20 1/3 innings of the season, defeating Miami and Cincinnati and getting a no-decision in a second matchup with Cincinnati.
The Cardinals are 3-0 in his starts and have outscored foes, 9-3.
St. Louis was on the other side of a pitching gem in Saturday's second game against Pittsburgh, when A.J. Burnett tossed seven shutout innings in his season debut and the Pirates knocked off the Cardinals, 2-0.
Burnett (1-0) was acquired from the New York Yankees in the offseason and was set to be the Opening Day starter for the Bucs, but he landed on the DL after fracturing his right orbital bone during a bunting drill in spring training.
Burnett allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out seven for the Pirates, who have won three of their last four.
"That's absolutely what we were looking for out of A.J. That's the reason he's here," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Juan Cruz, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli combined to hold the Cards at bay in the eighth and Joel Hanrahan worked through a tough ninth to nail down his second save of the season.
Andrew McCutchen finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Pedro Alvarez knocked in both runs for Pittsburgh.
Matt Carpenter had two hits and Jake Westbrook (2-1) was saddled with the loss after giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings while striking out six.
The Pirates will follow up Burnett's start with another ex-American Leaguer - Erik Bedard - who's pitched well in three starts but has yet to win.
The 33-year-old lefty has given up just five runs in 17 hits in 17 innings against Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Arizona, but is nonetheless 0-3 after losing 1-0, 4-1 and 5-1 decisions in the three games.
He's walked six batters and struck out 10.
Bedard, who made his initial 168 appearances in the AL with Baltimore, Seattle and Boston, has never faced the Cardinals.
St. Louis was 9-7 versus the Pirates last season.