National League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, May 30th (All times Eastern)
Cincinnati Reds (28-21) at Pittsburgh Pirates (24-25), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati - Johnny Cueto (5-2, 2.53) Pittsburgh - A.J. Burnett (3-2, 4.19)
(Sports Network) - Early-season ace Johnny Cueto tries to regain fleeting momentum tonight when the Cincinnati Reds visit PNC Park to finish off a three-game holiday week series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
A 26-year-old Dominican, Cueto was 4-0 with a 1.12 earned run average through his initial seven starts of 2012, but has dropped two of three outings since while watching the ERA more than double to 2.53 in 64 innings.
One of the victories in the opening stretch came in Cueto's 16th career meeting with the Pirates and saw him go the full nine-inning rout while scattering seven hits, allowing a run and walking no one in a 6-1 triumph.
The win lifted him to 11-3 lifetime against Pittsburgh with a 2.55 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 99 innings.
He was raked for a season-high 11 hits and five runs in 4 2/3 innings of work in his most recent start against Colorado on May 25, ending in a 6-3 loss.
The Pirates reply with veteran righty A.J. Burnett, who's won two straight after beginning the season with just one win in five outings.
An 11-game winner with the New York Yankees last season, Burnett came to Pittsburgh with cash in a deal that sent a pair of minor-leaguers to New York.
He'll make $16.5 million this season and next, with $20 million overall being paid by the Yankees.
Burnett began his Pirates career with a 2-0 defeat of St. Louis on April 21, then went 0-2 in four starts before rebounding with a 4-3 win at Detroit on May 19 and a 1-0 defeat of the Chicago Cubs six days later.
In his three wins, Burnett has allowed 16 hits and two runs in 18 1/3 innings, while in his other four starts he's given up 30 hits and 18 runs in 24 2/3 innings.
Burnett is 2-3 in seven career meetings with the Reds.
On Tuesday, Homer Bailey finally pitched his second career complete game in the same place he got his first, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out five in the Reds' 8-1 win.
Throwing 77 of 103 pitches for strikes, Bailey (4-3) picked up his first complete game since a four-hit shutout over the Pirates on May 12, 2010. He added two hits, including an RBI single, as the visitors bounced back from a 4-1 loss in the series opener.
Cincinnati had 12 hits, including three from Jay Bruce, for its ninth win in 11 games. The Reds lead the National League's Central Division by 1 1/2 games over second-place St. Louis and four over third-place Pittsburgh.
Pirates starter Charlie Morton (2-6) gave up four runs on six hits and a walk in four innings to take the loss, his third straight.
Cincinnati took two of three from the Bucs earlier this month.
05/30 10:36:08 ET