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Tigers Look To Sweep Pirates In Series Finale

(Sports Network) - Desperate to snap the longest losing streak in the major leagues, the Pittsburgh Pirates give it another shot this afternoon as they tangle with the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Pittsburgh, which also shows the worst road record in the National League at a mere 9-24, had an opportunity to stop the bleeding on Saturday, but the team failed to hold off the Tigers in 10 innings of a 4-3 final.

Carlos Guillen ended the meeting with a home run, handing reliever Brendan Donnelly his first loss of the campaign.

"I made a bad pitch and he hit a homer," Donnelly said. "I'm upset that I couldn't extend the game."

Johnny Damon finished up 3-for-5 with a run scored for the Tigers, who are 3 1/2 games behind Minnesota for first place in the American League Central. Phil Coke picked up his fourth win in as many decisions for throwing the top of the 10th, while Jeremy Bonderman went seven innings in the start, giving up two runs on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

"We missed a lot of opportunities," noted Detroit manager Jim Leyland. "We have to start doing a little bit better with the opportunities to score some runs."

Jose Valverde extended a scoreless streak to 25 outings spanning 25 1/3 innings with the Tigers. His earned run average of 0.34 leads all AL relievers.

Garrett Jones hit a solo home run and scored twice while Ryan Church and Neil Walker each drove in a run for Pittsburgh, which is now 12 1/2 games out of contention in the NL Central. Paul Maholm went six innings in the start and was charged with just one run on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

Taking the hill for the Pirates this afternoon is right-hander Jeff Karstens, making his first-ever appearance against Detroit. The Texas Tech product, who has a career mark of just 10-19 coming into the weekend, happened to be the opposing pitcher in the debut for Washington's Stephen Strasburg earlier this week, giving up four runs on nine hits, three of which were home runs, over five innings in the 5-2 loss to the Nationals.

Since making three starts earlier in the campaign, Karstens was part of the bullpen for the Pirates, but again he has been asked to take part in the starting rotation until further notice.

Countering for the home team on the mound is Armando Galarraga. The right- hander, who has a career mark of 0-1 with an 18.00 ERA versus the Pirates, also lasted just five innings in his most recent outing for Detroit. In that meeting against the Chicago White Sox earlier this week, Galarraga permitted just two earned runs on seven hits and a pair of walks, while striking out two, yet even though Detroit recorded the 7-2 victory, the Venezuela native failed to factor into the decision.

Against Cleveland just 11 days ago, Galarraga made a name for himself by pitching a one-hitter in a 3-0 triumph at home versus the Tribe.

During the current skid the Pirates are hitting just .228, nearly one hundred points lower than the competition (.325) during that span. Jones has been the one bright spot for the club, having tallied nine hits and 17 total bases in his last 26 at-bats.

The Tigers are a staggering 31-6 in their last 37 interleague games at home and are 126-108 all-time in interleague play, compared to Pittsburgh which is a major league-worst 71-112 in interleague play.