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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, May 13th (All times Eastern)

Houston Astros (15-18) at Pittsburgh Pirates (15-18), 1:35 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Wandy Rodriguez (3-3, 2.14) Pittsburgh - A.J. Burnett (1-2, 6.08)

(Sports Network) - Veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett makes his fifth start with the Pittsburgh Pirates today when they host the Houston Astros in the rubber match of a three-game weekend series at PNC Park.

Burnett, who's making his 319th big-league appearance, came to the Pirates in the offseason after three full seasons with the New York Yankees - for whom he won 34 games in 99 starts over three seasons.

The deal sent a pair of minor leaguers to the Yankees' system and included a condition that New York would pay $20 million of the $33 million Burnett will make before next being eligible for free agency in 2014.

The Yankees paid him $49.5 million in three full seasons - or $1.5 million per victory in that stretch.

He won his first outing with the Pirates with seven innings of three-hit scoreless ball on April 21, but is 0-2 in three starts since while giving up 24 hits and 16 runs in 16 2/3 innings.

He's 2-5 lifetime against the Astros in seven starts.

Houston counters with lefty Wandy Rodriguez, who'll try to regain the success of a three-start win streak that was snapped in his last outing.

The 33-year-old Dominican started the season 0-2, then won three straight against Los Angeles, Cincinnati and New York between April 22 and May 2 before dropping a 4-0 verdict to Miami on May 7.

He allowed four runs in the loss after giving up just three runs in 20 innings in the three victories.

Rodriguez is 8-5 in 17 starts against the Pirates since reaching the majors with the Astros in 2005.

On Saturday, Andrew McCutchen had four hits, including a solo homer, as the Pirates defeated the Astros, 5-2.

Charlie Morton (2-3) allowed two runs - one earned - on seven hits and a walk over six innings to notch the victory and Juan Cruz spun a scoreless ninth to record his third save of the season.

Jose Tabata added a solo homer and scored twice, while Neil Walker also knocked in a run as the Pirates snapped a brief two-game skid.

J.A. Happ (2-3) tossed five-plus innings and was charged for all five runs on six hits and a walk. Jordan Schafer hit an RBI double and Jose Altuve scored a run for the Astros, who have dropped four of six.

The Pirates went 6-3 against Houston at PNC Park last year, winning all three series, and have gone 11-6 since 2010, winning each of the last five series played in the Steel City.

05/13 11:05:30 ET