Marlins Vs. Pirates, 22 July 2012

July 20, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) is greeted at home plate by center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) after Walker hit a solo home run against the Miami Marlins during the fifth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
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The Pirates take a major league-best 31-14 home record in to today's game as they look to make it five in row at PNC Park at 1:35. The Bucs have won four in a row five times this season, but have yet to notch a fifth. Their last five-game winning streak was Sept. 17-22, 2010.

For the Marlins it's RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-6, 3.95) taking on RHP Jeff Karstens (2-2, 4:15) for the Bucs.

Believe it or not, the Pirates are only four games ahead of last year's pace at 53-40. Last year they were 49-44 after 93 games as we close in on the one-year anniversary of the Jerry Meals game. A victory today would be the Bucs fourth series sweep of the season. Also the Pirates are 20-4 in their last 24 at PNC and Jeff Karstens has allowed only one run in his two starts, totaling 14 innings, at home this season.

Rod Barajas has great career numbers against Sanchez, but he'll get a day off today in favor of Michael McKenry. Jordy Mercer, with extra base hits in his only at bats in each of the last two games, gets the start at short. Clint's card:

Alex Presley 7
Neil Walker 4
Andrew McCutchen 8
Garrett Jones 9
Casey McGehee 3
Pedro Alvarez 6
Michael McKenry 2
Jordy Mercer 6
Jeff Karstens 1

The Pirates remain fortunate, as Giancarlo Stanton will miss the whole series and Hanley Ramirez basically will as well. Ozzie's card:

Jose Reyes 6
Emilio Bonifacio 8
Carlos Lee 3
Logan Morrison 7
Justin Ruggiano 9
Greg Dobbs 5
Omar Infante 4
Brett Hayes 2
Anibal Sanchez 1

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