Locke carries scoreless innings streak into Atlanta

Lefty Jeff Locke can extend a stretch of scoreless work on Tuesday night when the Pittsburgh Pirates visit the Atlanta Braves in the second test of a three-game series at Turner Field.

Locke, a 25-year-old from New Hampshire, has thrown 18 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings across his last three starts while picking up a pair of wins and a no-decision.

He allowed three hits in seven innings of a 1-0 defeat of Houston on May 19, then worked six scoreless innings and allowed three hits in a 5-2 defeat of Milwaukee on May 25.

Locke followed with 5 1/3 scoreless innings of seven-hit with against Detroit on May 30, but got a no-decision in a game the Pirates ultimately won, 1-0.

Pittsburgh has won Locke's last four starts and seven of his last 10.

He got a no-decision against the Braves on April 18 and is 1-0 against them in two career starts.

Atlanta goes with its own 25-year-old southpaw in Mike Minor, who's not lost since April 28. He was beaten, 8-3, by Detroit in that game, after allowing six runs on six hits.

In six starts since, he's 4-0 with two no-decisions, while the Braves have won five of the six games.

His last outing came May 30 against Toronto, when he allowed two earned runs in seven innings of an 11-3 triumph.

Minor is 0-1 in two career starts against the Pirates and is 2-1 in five home outings this season with a stingy 2.43 earned run average.

On Monday, Brian McCann, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman all hit two-run homers as the Braves cruised past the Pirates, 7-2.

Chris Johnson finished with two doubles and one RBI, while Heyward and Freeman both hit their two-run shots during a four-run fifth inning for the Braves, winners of three straight.

Kris Medlen (2-6) tossed seven strong frames and gave up one unearned run on seven hits to earn his first win since April 9. He also fanned six in the victory.

"Every half inning, when I was out there warming up, I tried to make some adjustments," Medlen said. "I felt like I did that. It's been a while. But I always try to keep our team in the game, however many runs we're scoring and however many runs I'm giving up."

Gaby Sanchez and Clint Barmes each hit an RBI double to account for Pittsburgh's offense. The Pirates have dropped three of four.

A.J. Burnett (3-6) lasted five innings, allowing six runs on eight hits, including three homers, while walking three to absorb the loss. The right- hander has gone 0-4 over his last six starts following his last win on May 3.

"I was making pitches early, in that last inning I wasn't able to make pitches," Burnett added. "I got behind hitters. That's a good lineup, man. A good swinging team. You can't get behind them."

The Pirates took three of four from the Braves in a series played in April at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, and won the season series between the teams in 2012, 4-3. Atlanta won the 2011 series, 4-2.