Pirates at Blue Jays
The Pittsburgh Pirates hope to have Andrew McCutchen back in the lineup when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday in the rubber match of their three-game interleague series. McCutchen (.289 batting average, 23 home runs, 71 RBIs), who leads the club in all major offensive categories, left Friday's 4-2 victory with a left knee injury and did not play in Saturday's 7-2 loss despite hitting and running before the game.
"I was ready to go the whole game," McCutchen told reporters. "If they needed me, I was ready. At the same time, I don't need to be doing something and making it worse. You've got to be safe." Pittsburgh (58-59), which has won seven of its last 10 contests, trails first-place Chicago and St. Louis by three games in the National League Central. Toronto (55-61) received a lift Saturday from Chris Rowley, who became the first West Point graduate to win a major league game, but must pass seven teams to secure a wild card spot in the American League as it has alternated losses and wins in its last eight contests. The Blue Jays' J.A. Happ and the Pirates' Chad Kuhl have each won their last two starts, combining to allow five runs in the four games.
TV: 1:07 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, Sportsnet-1 (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Chad Kuhl (5-7, 4.53 ERA) vs. Blue Jays LH J.A. Happ (5-8, 3.77)
Kuhl yielded three runs, five hits and one walk while striking out six in six innings of a 6-3 victory over Detroit on Tuesday. The 24-year-old Delaware native is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in his last eight starts, lowering his ERA by more than a run from 5.58. Kuhl faces Toronto for the first time, but is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four interleague starts.
Happ yielded four hits and four walks while striking out five in 5 2/3 innings of a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday. The 34-year-old Illinois native has permitted three earned runs or fewer in 10 of his last 11 turns, and struck out a season-high 10 against the White Sox in Chicago on Aug. 2. Happ is 3-3 with a 3.11 ERA in nine starts versus Pittsburgh -- last facing them in 2012 while with Houston -- and struggles with McCutchen (11-for-25, four home runs).
1. Pirates OF Gregory Polanco (.255, 10 home runs, 32 RBIs) left Saturday's game with a left hamstring injury and is considered day-to-day.
2. Rowley was the 12th starting pitcher used by the Blue Jays this season -- one shy of the club record set in 1979, 2002 and 2013.
3. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle is expected to return to the helm Sunday after missing two games to attend Don Baylor's funeral.