Donovan Hand is no stranger to extended appearances. He's pitched two or more innings of relief four times in nine relief appearances this season. But on Saturday, Hand will be asked to go even further in his second start of the year, when the Brewers take on the red-hot Pirates in the second of a three-game set in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates (49-30) have won seven straight games.
Hand made his first Major League start last Saturday against the Braves. The right-hander pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings, surrendering only two hits and a walk while striking out three.
"Got it deep in the game, gave us a chance to win," Hand said after the game. "That was the main thing, get off to a good start. Get us off to a good start, and turn it over to the bullpen when I did."
Hand has served as mostly a long reliever since being promoted from Triple-A Nashville in May.
For Pittsburgh, Pedro Alvarez will be playing for a career-best 12-game hitting streak. He matched his personal record of 11 games on Friday night, when he went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run. Through the streak, Alvarez has raised his average from .212 to .246, and he has six multi-hit games in his last seven.
"I'm just trying to go up there to compete," Alvarez said. "You literally have to take it pitch by pitch. When you try to analyze your success too much, what's when you get in trouble."
Alvarez's next home run will be his 70th as a Pirates third baseman, breaking a tie at the position in club history with Bobby Bonilla and moving into third place, behind Aramis Ramirez (75) and Richie Hebner (120).
Brewers: Gomez returns to lineup
Carlos Gomez went 2-for-5 with a run in his first game back in the Brewers' lineup after spraining his shoulder Sunday in a collision with the wall at Miller Park.
With Corey Hart set to miss the remainder of the season after knee surgery and Ryan Braun's status with an injured thumb still unknown, Gomez's health is as important as ever for the Brewers.
Gomez is batting .314, with 12 home runs, eight triples, 18 doubles and 37 RBIs on the season.
Pirates: Harrison recalled, Sanchez optioned
Infielder/outfielder Josh Harrison returned to Pittsburgh on Friday, when he was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and Tony Sanchez was sent down.
Sanchez was called up to the big leagues for a five-game stretch of Interleague Play and went 2-for-8 with two starts at designated hitter.
Harrison will begin his fourth stint with the Pirates this season. He was used mostly in a pinch-hitting role, batting 2-for-11 in his first three appearances on the big league roster. He was hitting .316 through 60 games in the Minors.
• With a first-inning single on Friday, Brewers shortstop Jean Segura stretched his hitting streak to 11.
• Right-hander Gerrit Cole extended Pittsburgh starters' streak of allowing three earned runs or fewer to 14 straight games.
Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.