Pirates' Burres set for season debut vs. Cubs

Southpaw Brian Burres makes his initial appearance of the 2011 season tonight when the Pittsburgh Pirates visit Wrigley Field for the first of three games with the Chicago Cubs.

The 30-year-old, who's made 54 starts in 101 big-league outings since debuting in 2006, had spent the entire year at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he was 5-9 with a 4.66 earned run average in 23 starts.

He was 4-5 with the Pirates over 20 appearances (13 starts) in 2010 while allowing 87 hits in 79 1/3 innings, striking out 45 batters and posting a 4.99 earned run average.

The former Baltimore Oriole and Toronto Blue Jay has faced the Cubs four times overall and gone 1-0 with a 6.60 ERA in 15 innings of work.

He's opposed by 34-year-old righty Ryan Dempster, who's dropped two in a row since a four-start unbeaten streak pushed him above .500 for the season.

The British Columbia native was 7-8 after a 3-2 loss at Milwaukee on July 26 before going 3-0 in his subsequent four outings through Aug. 16, including wins over St. Louis, Cincinnati and Washington.

He dropped a 3-0 verdict to Atlanta to end the streak on Aug. 22, then allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings of a 6-4 loss at Milwaukee on Aug. 27.

Dempster is 8-11 with nine saves in 48 career meetings with the Pirates, including a 6-3 win in Pittsburgh in their last matchup on July 9.

On Thursday in Pittsburgh, Dana Eveland pitched spectacularly, going eight strong innings to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-4 victory over the Pirates at PNC Park.

Brad Lincoln (1-1) yielded three runs on six hits over six innings, while striking out three and walking three to absorb the loss for the Pirates, who have dropped five consecutive games.

Alex Presley clubbed a two-run homer, Ryan Doumit had three hits and Chase d'Arnaud chipped in with two hits in defeat.

On Wednesday in San Francisco, Madison Bumgarner tied a career high in strikeouts over eight scoreless innings as the Giants avoided a sweep by handing the Cubs a 4-0 defeat in the finale of a three-game set.

Rodrigo Lopez (4-6) dropped his third straight start after allowing nine hits and four runs over 5 1/3 frames for the Cubs, who continued their late-season skid by losing for the eighth time in 11 tries.

The Cubs have won four straight over the Pirates to take a 7-6 edge in the season series.