The Pittsburgh Pirates are assured of a winning record at the
All-Star break for the first time in 19 years.
They are looking for more.
They’ll send 11-game winner Kevin Correia to the mound Saturday
night as they continue a weekend series with the Chicago Cubs.
Pittsburgh (46-42) rallied for a 7-4 victory Friday, ensuring
that the Pirates will have a winning record at the All-Star break
for the first time since 1992, when they were 49-39 en route to a
third consecutive NL East title. They have since set a record for
major North American professional sports with 18 consecutive losing
The Pirates trail first-place Milwaukee by one game, and can
move atop the NL Central at the break with two more wins and one
loss by the Brewers.
“I’ve learned from experience that you don’t put expectations on
people,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “You draw up a plan and follow
that plan. I don’t what’s going to happen from here on in. I’m not
an expert. My job is just to get ready to play. Where that’s going
to take us, I don’t know.”
Hurdle started four rookies Friday and one of them, little-known
catcher Mike McKenry, came through with his first major league
homer – a go-ahead three-run shot in the eighth inning off Carlos
“I don’t know about being the hero,” McKenry said. “There were
eight other innings where guys just battled their brains out.”
Correia (11-6, 3.74 ERA) will try to join Atlanta’s Jair
Jurrjens and the Yankees’ CC Sabathia as the majors’ only 12-game
winners. He has posted a 4.50 ERA in winning his last three
The right-hander allowed two runs over six innings Sunday to
record a 10-2 victory at Washington.
Correia is 3-0 with a 3.31 ERA in six career starts against the
Cubs, winning his last three – two this year. He’s fared well
against Aramis Ramirez (3 for 14) and Alfonso Soriano (2 for
The Cubs (36-54) fell to 1-4 on this road trip one night after
rallying from eight runs down for a 10-9 victory over the
Nationals. Starlin Castro is 2 for 15 in the last four meetings
with Pittsburgh after going 8 for 13 in a season-opening three-game
Pittsburgh is 5-2 this year against Chicago, which has lost six
of its last seven at PNC Park.
Andrew McCutchen homered and walked Friday, extending his streak
of reaching base to 21 straight home games. He’s hitting .377 with
13 RBIs in that span.
Ryan Dempster (5-6, 4.99) will get the ball Saturday for
Chicago. He’s been pitching better lately, posting a 1.95 ERA over
his last five starts.
The veteran right-hander was scratched from his start Monday
night at Washington because of back pain, but appears ready after a
pre-game workout Friday. Dempster allowed one run over eight
innings but did not get a decision in his last outing, a 2-1 win
over San Francisco on June 29.
Dempster has split two starts against the Pirates this year,
ending a four-game losing streak in the series May 29 by giving up
two runs over six innings in a 3-2 victory.
McCutchen is 6 for 18 against him and Neil Walker is 6 for 10
with two doubles and a homer.