Brewers-Pirates Preview

Coming off a much-needed victory, the Pittsburgh Pirates likely

need to string together some wins if they want to reach the

postseason for the first time since 1992.

The Pirates look to record their first winning home series in

more than a month with a second straight victory over the Milwaukee

Brewers on Sunday.

Jeff Karstens threw seven strong innings before leaving with a

groin injury and Pedro Alvarez added two hits as Pittsburgh (68-58)

scored all its runs in the fourth inning to snap a four-game skid

with a 4-0 win over Milwaukee on Saturday. The victory was only the

fifth in 16 games for the Pirates, who are one game behind St.

Louis for the final wild-card spot in the NL.

Though Pittsburgh is 38-24 at PNC Park, it has not won

consecutive games there since July 25-Aug. 6. The Pirates have not

won a series on their home field since sweeping Miami from July

20-22.

They also have not won a home set from Milwaukee since Aug.

17-19, 2009.

Karstens, however, was not the only Pirate to leave Saturday’s

contest. Outfielder Jose Tabata also injured his groin after going

1 for 3 with an RBI. Tabata was batting .300 (12 for 40) with four

doubles in his last nine games.

His status for the finale is uncertain.

Tied for the major league lead in losses, scheduled Pittsburgh

starter Erik Bedard (7-13, 4.76 ERA) has allowed five runs in each

of his last two starts. The most recent came Aug. 18, when he

yielded nine hits and three walks over 4 2-3 innings of a 5-4 loss

at St. Louis.

Despite giving up five runs – three earned – and four walks in

five innings of an 11-5 victory over San Diego on Aug. 12, Bedard

will try to win three straight starts at home for the first time

this season.

The left-hander was tagged for five runs in 3 2-3 innings of his

only previous start against the Brewers, a 5-1 loss at Miller Park

on June 2.

Milwaukee’s Aramis Ramirez is 2 for 2 with a double against

Bedard. The veteran third baseman had three of the nine hits

Saturday for the Brewers (58-67), who had their four-game winning

streak snapped.

The ex-Pirate is 5 for 8 in this series and 10 for 26 (.385) in

seven games against his former team this season.

Milwaukee’s Mark Rogers (1-1, 5.02) looks to build on his first

career win when he faces the Pirates for the first time Sunday. It

took seven starts since debuting in the majors in 2010 for the

right-hander to earn that victory after he allowed three runs and

struck out seven in five innings of a 9-5 win over Chicago on

Monday.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Rogers said. “(It) wasn’t my

best effort of the year. But the offense was excellent. They picked

me up. It was a good win.”

Rogers is 0-1 with a 5.50 ERA in three road starts this

season.