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Wed, May 8, 2013 - 12:35 PM ET
 

Mariners-Pirates Preview

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Felix Hernandez and A.J. Burnett each have pitched extremely well of late for the Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively.

While Hernandez looks to win his fourth consecutive start, Burnett tries for his fourth straight victory as the teams conclude their two-game interleague series Wednesday at PNC Park.

Hernandez (4-2, 1.60 ERA) has allowed two earned runs, struck out 35 and walked two in 30 innings to go 3-0 in four starts since he yielded seven earned in 13 innings while losing the previous two.

"I've been aggressive, I've been throwing a lot of strikes and that's the key for me,'' Hernandez said.

The right-hander gave up five hits and fanned seven in eight innings of a 4-0 win at Toronto on Friday.

"He's special,'' Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager said. "He goes about his business. You give him a couple of runs and you know he's going to take care of the rest.''

In his only previous meeting versus Pittsburgh (19-15) in 2007, Hernandez yielded six hits and struck out nine in eight innings of a 3-0 home victory.

He's 13-7 with a 2.88 ERA in 26 interleague starts.

"He's as good as there is," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told MLB's official website. "He's built for endurance. He's got power, spin, changes speeds, locale - the total package off the mound. A dominant pitcher."

Hernandez also has fared well the three times he's squared off with Burnett (3-2, 2.57), allowing five runs in 23 2-3 innings while going 2-0. Pitching for Toronto and the New York Yankees in those matchups, Burnett yielded nine runs in 21 innings and went 0-1.

Burnett, however, has not allowed more than three runs in any of his seven starts in 2013 and is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the last four. The right-hander gave up one run and struck out nine in seven innings of a 3-1 win over Washington on Friday.

"He's approaching every single pitch he makes with total conviction,'' Hurdle said.

Burnett also ranks among the major league leaders with 57 strikeouts.

"Strikeouts are always good to have and I like to put people away,'' Burnett said. "There will be some nights where I won't have many strikeouts, so you take them when you can get them.''

He's fanned 55 while going 3-2 with a 3.71 ERA in eight starts versus Seattle.

Burnett has a chance to help the Pirates sweep this brief set after Jeanmar Gomez pitched five scoreless innings, Garrett Jones had a two-run homer and Andrew McCutchen added four hits with an RBI in Tuesday's 4-1 win over Seattle (15-19).

Pittsburgh has outscored its opponents 68-34 to win 12 of 15 interleague home games.

McCutchen has gone 13 for 28 (.464) with five RBIs in seven games to raise his average 60 points to .276. He's batted .463 with 13 RBIs over his last 14 interleague contests.

Seager had one of the five hits Tuesday for Seattle, which has dropped two in a row after winning seven of nine. He is batting .359 (14 for 39) in 10 career interleague road games.

Seattle outfielder and ex-Pirate Jason Bay is batting .364 (8 for 22) with two doubles and a home run versus Burnett

Tagged: Mariners, Pirates, A.J. Burnett, Felix Hernandez

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