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Pregame: Powerful pitching

A lot of the Pirates’ recent run of success, which has boosted them to a .500 record, is due to the starting rotation. Over the past seven games, the starters are 4-0 with a 2.79 ERA.

Over the past 13 games, Pirates pitching (including the bullpen) has a 2.64 ERA. That’s fourth-best in the majors behind the Giants (2.21), Braves (2.23) and Indians (2.53). In that span, the Pirates’ team ERA has dropped from 4.21 to 3.61.

»»» Ryan Doumit has 50 career homers as a catcher. Only Jason Kendall (66) and Tony Pena (63) hit more long balls as a catcher for the Pirates.

Sunday marked the fourth time since the start of last season that Doumit had hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning or later. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only three major leaguers — Nelson Cruz, Paul Konerko and Carlos Lee (five apiece) — have hit more of those kinds of homers in that same time period.

»»» The Pirates have homered in a season-high four straight games and in five of their past six. They are 11-7 when homering at least once in a game.

»»» The Pirates have won their past two season series against the Dodgers at PNC Park.

»»» The Pirates have not won three games in a row since Sept. 17-22, 2010, when they reeled off five straight against the D’backs and Cards.

»»» With Pedro Alvarez back in action tonight after recovering from a sore quadriceps, it will mark the first time since April 30 — and only the fifth time in 17 games — that manager Clint Hurdle has run out his usual starters at shortstop, third base and left field all in the same game. Jose Tabata returned Friday from an injury and Ronny Cedeno has been in and out of the lineup.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Dodgers (16-19) – 1. Jamey Carroll ss, 2. Aaron Miles 2b, 3. Andre Ethier rf, 4. Matt Kemp cf, 5. Juan Uribe 3b, 6. James Loney 1b, 7. Jerry Sands lf, 8. Rod Barajas c, 9. Chad Billingsley rhp (2-1, 3.92)

Pirates (17-17) – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Garrett Jones rf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Lyle Overbay 1b, 6. Ryan Doumit c, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Jeff Karstens rhp (2-1, 4.05)

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