(Sports Network) - Zach Duke tries to put the brakes on a personal three-game losing streak and his team's nine-game slide in the process when the woeful Pittsburgh Pirates continue their three-game interleague set with the Chicago White Sox this evening at PNC Park.
There will also likely be a buzz in the Steel City tonight, as the Pirates are expected to promote third basemanPedro Alvarez from Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday and he is expected to start.
Alvarez, the second overall selection in the 2008 draft and arguably the Pirates best prospect since Barry Bonds, was hitting .333 with a 1.0009 on- base plus slugging percentage in 65 games at Indianapolis this season.
The Pirates, who rank last in the majors with 204 runs scored, could certainly use a boost at the plate. Heading into Tuesday, Alvarez ranked third in the International League in RBI (53), fourth in home runs (13), third in total bases (129), third in runs scored (41) and sixth in slugging percentage (.540).
"We've envisioned this for the organization," Pirates manager John Russell said. "He's done some great things. We'll continue that process. I think he's going to be a big boost for our club.
An All-Star last season, Duke has had trouble finding his way here in 2010 and enters tonight's tilt with just one win in his last 11 starts. Duke absorbed the loss on Thursday in Washington, as he allowed three runs (two earned) and eight hits in five innings, dropping him to 3-7 on the year to go along with a 5.30 earned run average.
Duke is 0-1 in three starts against the White Sox with a 4.35 ERA.
Chicago, meanwhile, will pin its hopes on lefty John Danks, who is 5-5 with a 3.27 ERA. Danks was brilliant against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, scattering one hit over seven scoreless innings to even his record at 5-5, while lowering his ERA to 3.27.
This will be his first-ever appearance against the Bucs.
Chicago added to the Pirates' misery on Tuesday, as Gordon Beckham went 2- for-4 with three RBI and a run scored, helping the White Sox to a 6-4 win. Alexei Ramirez went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored whileJuan Pierre added an RBI and a run scored for Chicago, which has won five of its last six.
Freddy Garcia (7-3) got the win as he gave up four runs on eight hits with a pair of walks and two strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.
"I'm so happy for him. He should be proud," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of Garcia's start to the season.
Garrett Jones drove in two while Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen each scored twice for the Pirates, who have dropped a season-high nine consecutive games.
Brad Lincoln (0-1) was handed his first career loss as he surrendered five runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts over six innings.
"I was getting behind in the count. Leadoff walks hurt me," stated Lincoln.
Chicago took two of three from the Pirates last season and has won six of the last seven meetings between the teams.om the Pirates last season and has won seven of the last eight meetings between the teams.