Backed by an outstanding stretch from their rotation, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been nearly unbeatable at PNC Park.
Now that trend could continue with Edinson Volquez taking on the banged-up Los Angeles Dodgers.While the Pirates seek their longest home winning streak in six years Monday night, the Dodgers hope to stay atop their division by adding to the NL's best road record.Pittsburgh (52-46) has gone an NL-best 12-2 at home since June 19 while its starters have posted a 2.33 ERA. Jeff Locke contributed a quality start in Sunday's 5-3 win over Colorado that wrapped up a three-game sweep.The Pirates appear to be in good hands as they try to win seven straight at home for the first time since 2008, though Los Angeles is 30-21 on the road.Volquez (8-6, 3.65 ERA), who made five starts for the Dodgers late last season, has given up one run or none while going at least six innings in three of his last four home starts. The right-hander also has posted an 0.90 ERA while winning his last four starts overall.He's coming off his second career complete game, holding St. Louis to six hits in a 9-1 road victory July 10."When he gets past the fifth, he smells the finish," manager Clint Hurdle told MLB's official website. "It isn't like he's looking to give you five or six."Volquez is 2-1 with a 2.04 mark in his last three starts versus Los Angeles (55-45). In his only meeting this season, he allowed two runs over five innings in a 5-3 win June 1 as Pittsburgh took three of four at Chavez Ravine.Yasiel Puig went 2 for 3 with a double off Volquez in that contest, but he's set to undergo a second round of X-rays Monday after getting hit on the hand by a pitch in Saturday's 4-2 loss in St. Louis."It's still sore and I think a little bit swollen and obviously we're going to be cautious at this point," manager Don Mattingly said.Making matters worse, Hanley Ramirez could be out after he was also struck on the hand in the ninth inning of Sunday's 4-3 win. The shortstop has gone 7 for 15 versus the Pirates in 2014.Los Angeles has totaled 16 runs while hitting .213 in its last eight games, but Adrian Gonzalez hit a ninth-inning RBI single Sunday as the Dodgers salvaged a win to remain in a virtual tie with San Francisco.Hyun-jin Ryu (10-5, 3.44) looks to lead Los Angeles to consecutive road wins for the first time since a four-game run from June 24-July 4. He had been 6-1 with a 1.62 ERA on the road before allowing a season-worst seven earned runs over 2 1/3 innings in a loss at Detroit on July 8.The left-hander bounced back nicely five days later, giving up two hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts over six innings in a 1-0 home win versus San Diego."I feel very proud about (ten wins)," Ryu said. "My ERA, I'm very unsatisfied with that number, and in the second half of the season I'm focused on lowering that."He's pitched well in two career starts versus Pittsburgh, going 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA.Neil Walker is 0 for 6 when facing Ryu and batting .160 in 22 career games against the Dodgers, but he's hitting .359 with three homers, three doubles and a triple in his last 10 games after going 7 for 12 over the weekend.