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McDonald goes the distance to earn win No. 6

There are All-Star snubs every year, and this season, fans in Pittsburgh are likely upset that starting pitcher James McDonald wasn't selected to play in Kansas City alongside baseball's best.

McDonald (7-3) is in the midst of a breakout season for the Pirates. The right-hander ranks in the top 10 across the Major Leagues in ERA (2.44), opponents' average (.200) and WHIP (0.98). On Monday at PNC Park, he'll start against the Astros, who will use righty Jordan Lyles (2-4).

In a May 11 start against Houston, McDonald pitched extremely well in a 1-0 loss. Over eight innings, the righty allowed one run on four hits. He struck out eight and walked two.

"He's been on a roll, and that was a very impressive performance tonight," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said afterward.

Lyles hasn't faced Pittsburgh this season, but he did pitch against them last year as a rookie. He picked up a loss on June 16, 2011, when he threw 5 2/3 innings and gave up five runs, three of which were earned. In that game, McDonald was the winning pitcher and Pirates outfielder Garrett Jones took Lyles deep for a three-run homer.

Lyles enters Monday's game after pitching well in his last two starts. He allowed two runs over seven innings in a loss to Kansas City on June 20 and one run over 6 1/3 innings in a win against San Diego on Tuesday.

"After we got those runs for him and we took that lead, it seemed like he grasped that and said, 'I got the lead, I'm not going to give it up,'" Astros manager Brad Mills said after Lyles beat the Padres. "That seemed like when he really started clicking, and you want pitchers to be able to do that."

Astros: Lee still unsure about accepting trade
Carlos Lee said Sunday morning he still hadn't made a decision on whether to accept a trade to the Dodgers. A day earlier, Lee said he was informed by general manager Jeff Luhnow he would be sent to Los Angeles in a trade if he approved the deal. Lee is hitting .285 with five home runs and 29 RBIs.

• Second baseman Jose Altuve will be the only player representing Houston in this year's All-Star Game. Atlanta's Dan Uggla will start the game at second base for the National League.

Pirates: Bucs offense among league's hottest
The Pirates scored 146 runs in June, more than any other team in baseball. They also led the National League in home runs, with 39. Their run production in June almost equaled that of April and May combined, when the Pirates plated 147 runs.

• Center fielder Andrew McCutchen and closer Joel Hanrahan will represent Pittsburgh in the All-Star Game. McCutchen was not voted into the NL's starting lineup by the fans, who instead chose Melky Cabrera, Carlos Beltran and Matt Kemp for the outfield.

Worth noting
• The Pirates enter Monday having won four of their last five games. The Astros will try to snap a four-game losing streak.

• Pittsburgh took two of three games against Houston on May 11-13. Comments