(SportsNetwork.com) - Edinson Volquez aims to secure his first victory in six starts on Thursday night as the Pittsburgh Pirates begin a four-game series with the Washington Nationals.
The right-handed Volquez is 0-4 since picking up his first win of the season on April 17 and is coming off a 7-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday. He was charged with five runs over 6 1/3 innings, with four of the six hits he allowed home runs.
Volquez has given up eight homers over his last four starts and is 1-4 overall on the season with a 4.71 earned run average.
The 30-year-old is 1-2 lifetime versus the Nationals with a 6.64 ERA.
The Pirates are coming off just their third victory in nine games, winning a wild 9-8 decision over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh led 8-6 after two innings before Baltimore tied the contest on a pair of RBI hits in the seventh. However, Tony Sanchez drove in the game- deciding run in the bottom of that frame with a single.
Starling Marte and Ike Davis each went 3-for-4 with two RBI, while Andrew MacCutchen added three hits, one an RBI double.
"We just kept battling and focusing on what we could control," Ike Davis said.
The Nationals head to the Steel City having split a six-game homestand, losing the rubber match of a three-game set with the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 on Wednesday.
Denard Span led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run, but Washington did nothing else against Cincinnati starter Alfredo Simon afterwards.
"Anytime you lead off the game with a home run, you usually think it's probably going to be a good day for the offense," said Span. "But you've got to give credit to Simon. He shut the door down, made good pitches."
With hurler Gio Gonzalez on the disabled list because of left shoulder inflammation, Nats manager Matt Williams will give rookie Blake Treinen a start this evening.
Treinen, recalled after Wednesday's loss, last pitched for the Nationals back on May 6 versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. That outing came after three relief appearances and all three runs the righty allowed versus the Dodgers were unearned, but he still took an 8-3 loss.
Treinen has a 0.77 ERA with Washington on the year and also has gone 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in six starts with Triple-A Syracuse.
"It's hard to deny him that opportunity after how he pitched against the Dodgers. It's really hard," Williams told his club's website of Treinen getting tonight's start. "He was on a limited pitch count. He pitched really well against them. He has been building from there. He has been normal (rest), so he'll be prepared."
The Pirates won four of seven over the Nationals last season.