By: Mike Vukovcan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA)- The surprising Pittsburgh Pirates will go for a series sweep this afternoon in Houston.

Last night, the Pirates brought their record (34-33) over .500 with a hard fought 7-3 win.

The Bucs will have James McDonald (4-4, 4.80 ERA) on the mound and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Jordan Lyles (0-1, 4.15 ERA).

Here are some Pirate Pre-game Notes heading into this afternoon’s game.
*Bucs have gone 10-5 in their last 15 games and 12-7 in their last 19.

*Are attempting to be two games over .500 this late in the season for the first time since being 40-38 on July 2, 1999.*

*Today, the Pirates will look for their first three-game sweep of the season. In addition, the Bucs are looking for their first sweep in Houston since July 21-23, 2008.

*The Pirates picked up their 19th road win of the season last night…Coming into today, Pittsburgh is now tied for sixth-most road wins in the Majors behind Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Boston with 21 a piece and San Francisco and St. Louis (20).

*Joel Hanrahan picked up his 19th save of the season last night….Since saves became an official statistic in 1969, only two Pirates have recorded at least 20 saves by the All-Star break: Mike Williams with 25 in 2002 and 2003 and Jose Mesa with 22 in 2004 and 21 in 2005.

*Xavier Paul went 3-for-3 with a double, home run and 2 RBI last night….In his first 14 games this month, he is hitting .361 with a double, triple, home run, 5 RBI and 8 runs scored.

*Pittsburgh is hitting .271 this month, which ranks third among all National League teams behind Colorado (.282) and Los Angeles (.281)…..

*Andrew McCutchen extended his hitting streak to a careeer-high 14 games last night, which is now the longest active streak in the majors.

*After his first 14 games this month, McCutchen leads the Majors in hits and batting average, going 23-for-48 (.479) with six doubles, a homer, 11 RBI and 10 runs scored….He has raised his season batting average 46 points in June, from .247 to .293

*Neil Walker’s 28 RBI on the road ranks sixth in the Majors entering today.

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