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.
The Associated Press News Service
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