(SportsNetwork.com) - Jeff Locke looks to keep the pitching success going when he takes the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday in the middle test of a three-game series versus the Miami Marlins at PNC Park.
The Pirates have won four in a row thanks to starting pitchers Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano and most recently Charlie Morton, who made his season debut in Monday's 4-2 verdict over the Marlins.
Francisco Cervelli hit a three-run homer in the second inning and Pedro Alvarez clubbed a solo shot in the sixth to back seven strong innings from Morton. The right-hander was bothered by a hip issue at the start of the season and was in solid form on Monday with three strikeouts and no walks. Morton allowed two runs and eight hits, while Mark Melancon later notched his 11th save.
"I think I threw the ball well," said Morton. "My sinker was working pretty well. I kept it down and got a lot of groundballs."
Morton threw 63 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
Pittsburgh third baseman Josh Harrison went 0-for-4 and watched his 11-game hitting streak come to an end.
The Pirates have scored four or more runs five times in the last six games and hope to provide Locke support versus Miami. Locke is 2-2 with a 5.28 earned run average in eight starts, but has an 0-2 mark in his previous six trips to the hill. Locke hasn't won since April 18 versus Milwaukee and allowed three runs in six innings of a 4-3 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday.
Locke has recorded three straight no-decisions and is 1-2 with a 3.62 ERA in five career starts against the Marlins.
Miami was aiming for three wins in a row Monday and lost for the ninth time in the past 11 tries. Giancarlo Stanton homered and finished with two RBI, while David Phelps was dealt the loss in the start, allowing all four runs in six innings. Phelps gave up eight hits, struck out four and walked two.
The two homers were what ailed Phelps.
"I thought Phelps battled," Marlins new manager Dan Jennings said.
Jennings will take a look at Jose Urena on the mound Tuesday and the right- hander is making his first career start. Urena has made two relief appearances this season (9.00 ERA) and gave up three runs in two frames against the New York Mets in his last appearance on April 18.
Urena tossed a scoreless inning of relief at Atlanta on April 14.
"He's definitely capable of pitching up here," Jennings said. "It's his opportunity right now to step up and give us a much-needed boost."
In six starts with Triple-A New Orleans, Urena is 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA.
The Pirates went 4-2 against the Marlins last season and will visit south Florida for four games in August.