Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez came oh-so-close to history on Friday, falling two outs shy of his second career no-hitter.
But don't feel too sorry for Sanchez, who notched his first no-no on Sept. 9, 2006. He's put up, perhaps, the season's most dominant performance to date -- his 17-strikeout gem on April 26 -- and has another great chance for history on Wednesday.
That's when the Tigers and Pirates shift their home-and-home Interleague series to PNC Park, where the Pirates have won eight of their last 10 games. Sanchez heads to the mound following his latest close call -- he has twirled four complete-game one-hitters, including one in September 2011 in Pittsburgh.
Overall, he has a 2.50 ERA in five career starts against Pittsburgh, and current Pirates are batting .246 against him.
Fresh on the heels of Tuesday's contest between Jeanmar Gomez and Rick Porcello, the Pirates should be in for another pitchers' duel, which is what they've come to expect lately with right-hander A.J. Burnett on the mound. Burnett, the National League strikeout leader, has been dominant in his past five outings but doesn't have the personal victories to show for it.
Burnett has worked seven innings in each of his last five starts, during which he's posted a 2.31 ERA and .180 average against, but has gotten little help from the offense. The Pirates have given him only one run of support while he's been in the game in three of his last four starts -- the last of which was a 2-1 loss to the Brewers and righty Marco Estrada.
"A good pitchers' duel," Burnett said afterward. "A heck of an outing by both guys."
There's no reason to expect anything different on Wednesday.
Pirates: Walker surging
Second baseman Neil Walker is hitting .429 with two doubles, a triple and two home runs -- including Tuesday's game-winner -- in his last five games after totaling only five extra-base hits through his first 33 contests.
• Left-hander Justin Wilson is one of six relievers in the Majors with four wins but is the only one yet to take a loss.
Tigers: Prince cleaning up
First baseman and No. 4 hitter Prince Fielder is 6-for-6 with three doubles, eight RBIs and a walk in his last seven plate appearances following a walk to Miguel Cabrera.
• Right fielder Torii Hunter and shortstop Jhonny Peralta have nine-game hitting streaks, and Hunter is one home run shy of becoming the 17th active player with 300.
• The Pirates have recorded at least one extra-base hit in a Major League-leading 47 straight games. The Tigers were second, with 43, before not recording one on Tuesday.
• Burnett is 6-2 with a 5.27 ERA in 10 career starts vs. the Tigers, winning five of his last six regular-season decisions against them.
• The Pirates haven't lost consecutive games since May 8-9.