Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who went 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA while earning an All-Star nod a year ago, makes his season debut at AT&T Park as the Giants look to complete a three-game sweep against the Pirates.
Vogelsong began the season on the disabled list while recovering from back pain that bothered him early in Spring Training. He appears good to go after two rehab starts for Triple-A Fresno, where he allowed two runs and struck out 12 in 10 innings, and Giants catcher Buster Posey said he's excited to catch Vogelsong again.
"The best thing is he's feeling healthy," Posey said. "Every time I've caught we've been on the same page."
Vogelsong faces a Pirates offense that, quite simply, hasn't been up to snuff in the season's early going. The Pirates haven't been patient, drawing only eight walks compared to striking out 64 times, and, despite beginning the season with two walk-off wins, haven't come through in the clutch -- 1-for-21 with runners in scoring position on their road trip.
Because of those numbers, it should come as no surprise that the Pirates have played with a lead after only one of their 73 innings this season and are stuck in a five-game losing streak.
"We've been a two-man offense [Alex Presley and Andrew McCutchen] every night," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "We've got to get a lot more guys swinging the bats better. It's been more of a struggle than anyone anticipated. We look forward to going off."
Pirates: Correia on the hill
Right-hander Kevin Correia (0-0, 1.50 ERA) makes his second start of the season Sunday in a park with which he's quite familiar. Correia pitched in San Francisco during his first six seasons, mostly as a reliever. He's appeared in 81 games (27 starts) at AT&T Park, posting a 4.60 ERA. The righty is coming off an impressive season debut in which he tossed six innings of one-run ball against the Dodgers, getting 11 of his 18 outs on grounders.
"I don't walk out there thinking I'm a ground-ball pitcher," Correia said. "But my two-seamer has been pretty good, and that's what they were beating into the ground."
Giants: Offseason addition impressing
Outfielder Melky Cabrera -- whose grounder to short brought home Saturday's game-winning run -- has given the Giants a boost so far this season, reaching base safely in all eight games and providing solid defense.
"From day one of Spring Training he's been impressive," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Just the way he goes about his business. He gives you good defense and a presence at the top of the lineup."
The Giants have scored four or more runs in all eight games this year, the first time the club has done so since 2003, when it started the season by scoring at least four runs in nine straight.
The Giants have won 10 of their last 13 games against the Pirates in San Francisco.
Vogelsong was 1-1 with a 5.91 ERA in two starts against Pittsburgh last year.
Correia was a roommate with Bochy's son, Greg, at Cal Poly and remains a close family friend.