The Pittsburgh Pirates are playing so well that they have to feel they can earn a rare win over Kyle Lohse.
Lohse is 9-2 in his career against the Pirates, who will try for their ninth straight victory Sunday and a three-game home sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Pittsburgh (50-30) owns baseball's best record thanks to its longest win streak since a 10-game run June 26-July 5, 2004. The club has won 50 games before the start of July for the first time -- the closest it had come to accomplishing that feat was the 1971 team that won its 50th game July 1 and captured the World Series.
"We're playing good baseball," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's nice to get to 50 wins but we're just trying to meet the demands of the game, honestly self-evaluate and get better every day. There is still a long way to go."
Pedro Alvarez is enjoying a career-high 12-game hitting streak in which he is batting .396 with six homers and 15 RBI. He hit his 20th homer in Saturday's 2-1 victory.