In his eight starts since, Burnett has picked up eight straight wins. If the right-hander can win his ninth start in a row against the Astros at PNC Park on Tuesday, he'll join a small group of Pirates in the history books.
Rip Sewell (11 straight in 1943), Dock Ellis (10 straight in 1971) and Steve Blass (nine straight in 1968) are the only Pirates pitchers to win nine consecutive starts.
Burnett will try to keep his winning streak going against a team he hasn't had much success against recently. After picking up his 21st career win, against the Astros in 2002, Burnett hasn't beaten them since. He went eight innings against the Astros in May, giving up two runs on six hits in the Pirates' 3-2 victory.
He also may have to do it without regular batterymate Rod Barajas, who was scratched from Monday's lineup with a left knee bruise. Backup catcher Michael McKenry won with Burnett in his last start on Thursday, but Burnett usually works with Barajas.
McKenry has shown he can be an impact bat, hitting six homers in 94 at-bats. Barajas has seven homers in 170 at-bats.
"We hadn't really done much behind the plate," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "As you continue to give men opportunities, and you give them reps and they show up, they figure some things out."
Lucas Harrell, coming off a shutout against the Padres on Wednesday, will take the ball for the Astros. The last Astros rookie to throw a shutout was Taylor Buchholz in 2006. Harrell allowed six hits, walked four and struck out seven in the Astros' 1-0 win.
He said he felt stronger as the game went on.
"You go out there and try to make pitches," Harrell said. "My goal every time out is just to keep them in the game and give them a chance to win, and more likely than not, we'll score enough runs to win. I feel like if I can hold them to two, three runs and hopefully go seven, eight innings, that will give us a chance to win."
Harrell ranks first in the National League in innings pitched by a rookie. He has thrown five or more innings in his last 14 starts.
Pirates: McCutchen named June's best player
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen was named the Budweiser Presents NL Player of the Month for June.
He batted .370 with seven homers and 26 RBIs during the month. He had 40 hits, the most by any player in the NL, and 73 total bases, tied for the most in the Majors with Robinson Cano. In 15 games against the American League, McCutchen batted .368.
The last Pirates player to win the award was Jason Bay, who earned it in May 2006.
Astros: Johnson not expected to play
Third baseman Chris Johnson, scratched from Sunday's lineup with a strained muscle on his left side, didn't play Monday and likely won't play Tuesday. Doctors told Johnson not to swing a bat on Monday.
Manager Brad Mills said he won't put Johnson in the lineup until he can swing without pain. Johnson said he felt better on Monday.
"They told me not to hit today, and hopefully, tomorrow I can come in and swing the bat," Johnson said. "Right now, we're just day to day."
Johnson is batting .280 with six homers and 34 RBIs. Scott Moore replaced Johnson at third on Monday and went 1-for-4 with a homer.
Jose Altuve, after being named to the NL All-Star Team on Sunday, is one of nine players to make the Major League All-Star Game one season after playing in the Futures Game. The Angels' Mike Trout will also play in the All-Star Game after playing in the Futures Game last year.
The Pirates have homered in their last 10 games. The last time the Pirates hit home runs in 10 straight games was Sept. 19-28, 2005. The last 11-game streak was in 1994, when the Pirates homered in 13 straight games.
The Astros have lost their last seven road games. The Rangers and Cubs swept them in their last two road series.