The Pittsburgh Pirates are the hottest team in baseball.
The Pirates will try to match their longest winning streak in eight years when they take on the slumping Florida Marlins in the middle game of their series.
The Pirates, who won 11 consecutive games from Sept. 12-22, 1996, have been getting dominant pitching and timely hitting during their incredible run. Pittsburgh won the series opener 3-1 on Monday behind Kip Wells’ eight shutout innings.
Wells won for the first time in eight starts, allowing four hits while striking out eight.
“All wins are good, but when your team is doing well, you want to contribute and say you did your part,” Wells said. “We’ve been playing well, and I wanted to contribute and keep things going.”
Prior to their win streak, the Pirates had given up 38 runs in losing seven of eight. They have since outscored their opponents 61-19.
The defending World Series champion Marlins are having all kinds of problems.
Florida, which has lost five of its last six and 12 of 17, has scored just 10 runs in its last 51 innings. The Marlins have not gotten a hit in their last 28 at-bats with runners in scoring position
To make matters worse, the Marlins were forced to put ace right-hander Josh Beckett back on the disabled list after Monday’s game because of a blister. He allowed two earned runs and five hits in four innings before leaving after throwing 73 pitches.
“I keep getting bit by this,” Beckett said. “I don’t know what it is. Hopefully, after the All-Star break, I’ll be able to come back.”