Ohlendorf eyeing another strong start

Ohlendorf eyeing another strong start

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates concluded a successful six-game homestand against the Cardinals and the Rockies with a 4-2 mark Sunday. They now open a 10-game road swing with a four-game series against the Washington Nationals on Monday.

The Pirates are hoping for another solid outing from right-hander Ross Ohlendorf. The 26-year old posted a win in his last start, against St. Louis, on Wednesday. He went six innings and allowed one run in a 5-2 victory.

Ohlendorf has won four of his past five decisions and is sporting a 3.77 ERA this season.

"I feel good about the way I'm throwing the ball," Ohlendorf said. "Throwing strikes is the big difference from last year. I'm throwing more strikes and pitching with more confidence.

Ohlendorf is gaining confidence in all of his pitches.

"Last game against St. Louis, I mixed it up a little more," Ohlendorf said. "My changeup has been good the whole time, and my fastball. My slider has been inconsistent, but I think I've figured it out now."

Ohlendorf is far from satisfied, and he wants to continue to make progress and keep his team in games.

"I would like to have pitched even better than I have," Ohlendorf said. "It's been a good start so far, but I've had some games that I wish had gone better."

Pitching matchup
PIT: RHP Ross Ohlendorf (4-3, 3.77 ERA)
Ohlendorf allowed just one run in hist last start, coming on a Skip Schumaker home run. Ohlendorf, who has relied on his sinker, mixed things up with a four-seam fastball, slider and a very effective changeup against St. Louis. This will be Ohlendorf's first appearance against Washington.

WSH: LHP Ross Detwiler (0-0, 0.00 ERA in 2008)
Because of the off-day this past Thursday and Saturday's doubleheader against the Phillies, the Nationals will need an extra pitcher to start Monday against the Pirates.

Pittsburgh outfielders lead all Major League teams with 12 assists, followed closely by the Reds (11), Rays (11) and Astros (10). ... Brandon Moss is tied for second among National League right fielders with five assists. ... Outfielder Nyjer Morgan ranks second among NL leadoff hitters with a .304 batting average and second with .384 on-base percentage (minimum of 130 plate appearances). He also ranks third in RBIs (17) and is fifth in runs scored (22).

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Up next
• Tuesday: Pirates (Jeff Karstens, 1-2, 5.06) at Nationals (Shairon Martis, 5-0, 4.10), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Pirates (Paul Maholm, 3-1, 3.51) at Nationals (John Lannan, 2-3, 4.00), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Pirates (TBD) at Nationals (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET

George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.