Mariners-Pirates Preview

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