With a chance to win four straight for the first time this season, the Braves hope Jurrjens can put together his second strong start against the Pirates this season as the teams continue a four-game series Wednesday night.
Atlanta (29-28) has matched its season high with three straight wins after being shut out in its previous two contests. The Braves are averaging 6.3 runs while batting .322 with five homers during their winning streak.
After opening this series with a 15-inning, 7-6 win Monday night, Atlanta won 4-3 the following evening to hand Pittsburgh (26-32) its third straight loss. The Braves are 4-3 on a nine-game homestand, trying to build some momentum before a six-game trip with series in Cincinnati and Boston.
Jurrjens (5-3, 2.84 ERA), who has gotten two runs of support or less in six of his 12 starts, was the victim of the Braves’ troubles at the plate in his last contest with the Pirates—suffering a loss despite allowing one run and four hits while striking out seven in 6 2-3 innings of a 3-0 Atlanta defeat. Jurrjens is 1-2 with a 3.18 ERA in three career starts versus Pittsburgh.
The Braves were also shut out in Jurrjens’ outing Friday night. The right-hander matched a season high with eight strikeouts while giving up four runs and nine hits in seven innings of Atlanta’s 4-0 loss to Milwaukee.
Francoeur wasn’t in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game, entering as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning. He had a disappointing 2008 and has been a liability in Atlanta’s lineup this year.
After Francoeur went 1 for 5 in Monday’s contest, which lasted nearly 5 hours, Braves manager Bobby Cox decided it was a good time to give him some rest.
“My legs are for sure feeling the effects,” Francoeur said.
Francoeur will likely be back in the lineup as the Braves face former teammate Charlie Morton(notes), who will be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to face Atlanta a week after being dealt to Pittsburgh. Morton was traded to the Pirates along with two prospects for center fielder Nate McLouth(notes), who is 4 for 10 with a homer, three runs and an RBI in this series.
Morton, who went 4-8 with a 6.15 ERA in 15 starts and one relief appearance for Atlanta last year, will get his first start of the season.
Jeff Karstens(notes) was originally scheduled to take the mound for the Pirates, but he’ll get some extra time off after taking the loss in relief Monday. He gave up two hits, two walks and the deciding run while retiring just one batter.