(Sports Network) - Ageless right-hander Livan Hernandez can reach double-digit wins for the 11th time in his big-league career tonight when the soon-to-be- shorthanded Washington Nationals visit the Pittsburgh Pirates for the first of three games at PNC Park.
Hernandez, a 35-year-old Cuban native, picked up the ninth win of a resurgent 2010 season on Aug. 28 against St. Louis, when he allowed eight hits and five runs in 6 1/3 innings of Washington's 14-5 defeat of the Cardinals.
He reached 10 wins for the first time as a 23-year-old Florida Marlin in 1998, then reached 10 or more for nine consecutive seasons between 2000 and 2008.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder skidded to nine wins while making 31 starts with the Nationals and New York Mets last season and carrying a plus-5.00 earned run average across 183 2/3 innings.
He is 5-4 in 15 lifetime starts against the Pirates, including a 4-2 win on June 10 in Washington, where he surrendered five hits and two runs in six innings.
The Nationals expect to get a decision today on outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who faces suspension after charging the mound during Wednesday's game against Florida. Morgan had already appealed a seven-game penalty incurred when he threw a ball into the stands in Philadelphia in August.
For Pittsburgh, Texas-born lefty Zach Duke can make it two straight victories in a season where he's lost twice as much as he's won. The 27-year-old beat the Mets, 2-1, in an Aug. 22 start at PNC Park, allowing five hits and one run in seven innings.
He's started once since and picked up a no-decision in the Pirates' 8-7 loss at Milwaukee on Aug. 28.
Duke, who is 1-2 in five starts against Washington, was on the losing side of the June 10 matchup with Hernandez after being touched for eight hits and three runs in five innings.
He's won just four of 16 decisions since starting the season with two straight wins and the Pirates are 8-15 in the 22 games he's pitched.
On Wednesday in Chicago, Kosuke Fukudome finished 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles, two runs scored and an RBI as the Cubs set aside Pittsburgh, 5-3, in the finale of a three-game set from Wrigley Field.
Neal Walker had three hits including a solo homer while Andrew McCutchen drove in two runs for the Pirates, who have lost five of six.
James McDonald (2-5) took the loss after yielding eight hits and three runs, fanning six and walking two over five full frames.
In Miami, Wes Helms drove in five runs and Florida blew out the Nationals, 16-10, in a game marred by the aforementioned sixth-inning fracas.
Ian Desmond ended with three hits and two RBI for Washington.
Nationals starter Scott Olsen (3-8) allowed eight hits and nine runs in 1 2/3 innings and lost his sixth straight start.
Washington swept a three-game set from the Pirates back in June.