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PIT@SEA: Locke goes seven strong, gives up two runs

For the first time in nearly two weeks, the Pirates enter Wednesday having lost a game. But not much else is going wrong right now in Pittsburgh.

The Bucs' nine-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday, but they still have the best record in the Majors and send Jeff Locke, who has been their best starter this season, to the mound against the Phillies.

Locke was originally scheduled to start the series opener Tuesday, but he was scratched because he warmed up in the bullpen during the Pirates 14-inning marathon win against the Brewers on Sunday. The lefty has been brilliant this season. His 2.06 ERA is the second-best mark in the National League, and Locke has not lost since his first outing of the season.

Brandon Cumpton was called up for the spot start Tuesday and allowed three runs in a losing effort against the Phillies. However, the Pirates' 51 wins still ties them with the Red Sox for the most in baseball, and they're trying to stay focused regardless of their win total.

"As a team, you're not going to take anybody lightly, especially in Major League Baseball," Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. "Doesn't matter if it's the worst team in the league or the best team in the league, you're trying to approach every game the same. You hope that when you're playing teams, they aren't playing as well as they want to. But you're not banking on that."

The Phillies will look for their fifth win of their current road trip behind John Lannan. The lefty pitched seven strong innings in his last start against the Dodgers. He has a 3.71 ERA in three appearances since coming off the disabled list on June 17.

Phillies: Kendrick to make next start
Kyle Kendrick is still slated to make his next start despite sustaining a mild concussion Sunday, according to Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

Kendrick was hit in the helmet while batting against the Dodgers, but it was determined he was healthy enough to pitch in his next start after he was evaluated Tuesday. He is 7-5 with a 3.59 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 17 starts this season.

The right-hander will throw a bullpen session Wednesday. As long as everything goes well, he will make his next start, which is scheduled for Saturday against the Braves.

"I think it was a very mild one when they did the original testing after the game two days ago," Amaro said of Kendrick's concussion. "He's doing pretty well, he should be good to go. Obviously [not] if there is something that happens in the next 24 or 48 hours, but right now he should be fine for his start."

Pirates: Tabata may rejoin Pirates on Wednesday
Jose Tabata, who has not been with the Pirates since late May, could return to the team as early as Wednesday.

The outfielder hit the disabled list with a strained left oblique on May 27 and has been rehabbing with Triple-A Indianapolis. The 24-year-old's numbers were not great in the Minors (5-for-28 in nine games), but manager said Tabata has recovered from the injury well.

"There was no re-injury," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was able to move forward, get at-bats, play the outfield, run the bases, bunt, attempt to steal. Those types of things."

Tabata hit .272 in 36 games with the Pirates this season before the injury. He was not in the lineup for Indianapolis on Tuesday.

Worth Noting
• Pirates starters have surrendered three runs or fewer in each of their last 16 starts.

• Ryan Howard snapped an 0-for-22 slump with an RBI single in the sixth inning Tuesday. Howard has 42 RBIs this season. Comments