Reds-Pirates Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 11, 2013
The Pittsburgh Pirates are desperately looking for some offense to help out their pitching staff. Perhaps coming home for an extended period of time will jumpstart their bats. The Pirates begin a 10-game homestand when they meet the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night. Pittsburgh (3-6) has the most woeful offense in the majors, batting .153, and only Miami (16) has scored less runs than Pittsburgh's 21. The Pirates got blown out 10-2 at Arizona on Wednesday, though they claimed the first two games to win the series and complete their road trip with a 2-4 record. "We win the series, and we move on," manager Clint Hurdle said. Things might have turned out differently, but pitcher Jonathan Sanchez made a throwing error in the first inning that led directly to one run and opened the door for a three-run inning for the Diamondbacks. The Pirates, with their weak bats, were not able to come back. "You make a baseball play in the first inning, I don't know how (the game) turns out," Hurdle said. "It has a chance to be different, though. We make a throw to third, we get the out there, who knows?" It was a tough day for Sanchez, who gave up nine runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings and also didn't get much help from his offense. "We have 30 starts out of the year," Sanchez said. "We're going to have bad outings and we're going to have good outings. You've just got to focus on the next one." Pittsburgh, which also plays St. Louis and Atlanta on this homestand, sends veteran A.J. Burnett to the mound for his third start. He lost his first two, as the Pirates totaled one run and he registered a 3.27 ERA. Burnett is 5-5 with a 4.06 ERA in 12 starts against the Reds (5-4). He was on the mound Sept. 28 when Cincinnati's Homer Bailey no-hit the Pirates in a 1-0 win. Bailey got roughed up in St. Louis on Wednesday as the Reds lost 10-0 to drop the final two games of the series. After scoring nine runs in the ninth inning to take the series opener 13-4 on Monday, the Reds lost 5-1 on Tuesday before getting blanked. Cincinnati came into the series with 38 runs in its first six games. "I was hoping this would be different this time especially after that first night," manager Dusty Baker said. "The thing about it is their pitching really shut us down." Mike Leake (0-0, 6.00) starts for the Reds on Friday after giving up four runs and six hits over six innings in his first outing, a 7-6 loss to Washington on Saturday. Leake is 2-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 11 starts against Pittsburgh, his most versus any team. Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen has the most at-bats among players who have faced Leake, going 6 for 30 with one homer and eight strikeouts. The Reds went 11-7 against the Pirates last year, including 5-4 in Pittsburgh. The Pirates scored only 16 runs in those nine home games.
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