Burnett gets the call for the Pirates against Houston in Sunday's rubber match, looking to keep up his solid start with the Bucs -- one to which his 6.08 ERA doesn't do justice.
Remove the 12 runs he surrendered in 2 2/3 innings against St. Louis, and Burnett's ERA is 1.71 for his three other starts. In his last time out, Burnett had his best curveball in a while and relied on it almost exclusively in fanning 10 Nats.
"He competes and he's got a short memory," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was able to put that behind him quickly."
Wandy Rodriguez gets the ball opposite Burnett, coming off his worst start of the season statistics-wise. But Rodriguez pitched into the ninth, despite being hurt by three home runs, and managed to give his bullpen a bit of a break.
"That's what happens when I miss my location," Rodriguez said after the start. "I faced a lot of good hitters over there, and I tried to put the ball wherever I wanted, but I missed a couple of times."
Rodriguez has a 3-3 mark on the young season, with a 2.14 ERA that is among the league leaders.
But the lefty will have to deal with a Pirates club that is 4-0 versus southpaws at PNC Park this season. The biggest reason has been Andrew McCutchen, who is hitting .452 in 31 at-bats against left-handers.
Astros: Martinez set for return to lineup
Left fielder J.D. Martinez will return to the starting lineup on Sunday after being held out of three straight games while he was in a 1-for-31 slump.
Manager Brad Mills, who said he wanted to give Martinez adequate time off, noted his left fielder has looked better in batting practice. As for Martinez, he's ready to get back to baseball.
"I've been itching the last two days to get out there," he said. "I just feel weird. I don't know what to do with myself when I'm sitting out. I'm ready to get back in there, getting that itch to get going and start hitting again."
Astros hitters this season have combined for 110 walks in 33 games, a 3.33 per game clip that's way up from last season when Houston was last in the Majors with 2.47 walks per game.
Pirates: Bedard scratched
Left-hander Erik Bedard has been scratched from his next start, which was originally slated for Monday in Miami. Righty Brad Lincoln will move into the rotation in Bedard's spot.
The last time Bedard took the mound, he was removed early because of back spasms. Since then, Bedard has been getting treatment and taking muscle relaxants.
Pirates relievers have posted a 1.97 ERA in their last nine games.
Historically, Burnett has struggled a bit against the Astros, but he hasn't faced them since 2005 when he was pitching for the Marlins. He is 2-5 with a 5.31 ERA in his seven starts against Houston and hasn't won since 2002.
Carlos Lee has hit 17 home runs and driven in 78 runs in his 395 lifetime at-bats against the Pirates.