Pirates Surging

The Pittsburgh Pirates are surging thanks in part to the hot bat of Jason Bay. To continue that success, they'll have to get past one of the hottest pitchers in the majors.

Bay and the Pirates try to overcome Chris Young and win back-to-back games against the San Diego Padres when they continue their three-game series Wednesday night at PNC Park.

Oddsmakers have made San Diego -135 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 80% of bets for this game have been placed on San Diego -135 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Following a season-high five-game losing streak, Pittsburgh (23-28) has rebounded with wins in four of its last five games, batting .320 during that stretch. Bay has fueled the surge by going 11-for-20 with three homers, three doubles, a triple and nine RBIs.

The Pirates left fielder, who earned NL player of the week honors Tuesday, went 2-for-4 with a homer and a double later that night to help Pittsburgh beat San Diego 4-1 in the series opener.

"A lot of times in the past you go on a little hot streak, and it doesn't mean as much because you're not winning,'' Bay said. "This has coincided with us winning so I think it means a little bit more.''

Bay is just 1-for-6 with a triple during his career versus Young (5-3, 2.70 ERA), who looks to continue his strong month when he takes the mound for San Diego (29-22). After going 2-2 with a 4.33 ERA in April, the 6-foot-10 right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.36 ERA and .174 opponent batting average in five May starts.

"I feel strong. I'm more consistent in my mechanics," Young told the Padres' official Web site. "Early on (in the season), I felt like I was battling myself. Hopefully I'll get into a groove."

Young found his groove Thursday, when he held the Chicago Cubs to one run and three hits over seven innings, but didn't record a decision in a 3-1 defeat. He walked two and struck out a season-high 10.

Young has won both of his career starts versus the Pirates, allowing just two runs and three hits through 16 2-3 innings. He will try to help the Padres bounce back after their three-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday.

Josh Bard went 3-for-4 and Jose Cruz added two hits for San Diego, which lost for just the second time in eight games. The Padres continue to struggle on the road, though, where they are 12-13 with losses in five of their last seven contests.

Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm (2-6, 5.43) tries to capitalize on those woes and build on a strong outing when he faces the Padres for the first time. The left-hander limited Cincinnati to two runs and seven hits over seven innings on Friday, but didn't earn a decision in the Pirates' 10-4, 10-inning victory.

Maholm, who had gone 1-4 with a 7.62 ERA in his previous five starts, is trying to help the Pirates take a home series from the Padres for the first time since July 28-30, 2000.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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