The Pirates will look to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games when they wrap up their three-game interleague series with the visiting Devil Rays.
Pittsburgh pounded Tampa Bay 18-2 on Saturday to reach .500 after June 1 for the first time since 1999. Jose Castillo homered and drove in five runs for the Pirates, who have won four straight for the first time since Aug. 14-17.
“But we’re not satisfied with being .500,” Pittsburgh’s Humberto Cota said. “We want to be above .500 and compete with the big teams.”
The Pirates, who have endured 12 consecutive losing seasons, have not been at .500 this late in the season since September 1999. They have won 22 of 36 games since May 2 and have won nine of 12 on their homestand, which ends Sunday. The Pirates are at .500 for the first time since they were 23-23 last season.
“That isn’t our goal,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Our goal is to get better. I don’t know the significance of it in June.”
Daryle Ward drove in four runs, and rookie Ryan Doumit reached base five times, had three hits, scored three times and had his first three career RBIs on Saturday as Pittsburgh set season highs for runs and hits (20).
Carl Crawford went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Tampa Bay, which is on pace to lose 110 games.
“I’ve never seen anything that stinks like this,” the Devil Rays’ Aubrey Huff said. “This is bad. We keep saying ‘keep your head up, keep your head up, and good things will happen.’ But good things never seen to happen around here.”
The Devil Rays have lost seven straight and are 1-10 on their current road trip. They allowed 10 or more runs for the sixth time in 11 games and have given up 71 runs in seven games, including 50 in their last four.