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Pirates Vs. Reds Preview: A.J. Burnett Takes Mound As Bucs Seek Revenge

The Pirates lost the first two games of their series against the Reds to fall 5.5 games back of Cincinnati in the N.L. Central, but their matchup for the series finale at 1:10 p.m. on Sunday gives them a good chance to bounce back.

A.J. Burnett, who took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his last start against the Cubs and finished with a one-hitter, takes the mound against Homer Bailey.

Burnett has been the Bucs' best starter this year. Bailey's performance this season has been decent, but uneven -- he got pounded in his last start, which came against the Padres and which featured Bailey and the Reds blowing a six-run lead before Brandon Phillips hit a decisive home run in the seventh. But Bailey struck out 17 and allowed just one total earned run in his previous two starts.

This should be an entertaining game to watch not only because of its importance, but because the Pirates seem furious over the Reds throwing at them -- Aroldis Chapman hit Andrew McCutchen Friday night, and Mike Leake hit Josh Harrison on Saturday before both benches were warned. Neither McCutchen nor Harrison looked particularly happy about getting hit, and Clint Hurdle got ejected Saturday night.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.