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Davis gets breather after tough start to June

PITTSBURGH -- With a .326 average and .408 on-base percentage, Ike Davis had a terrific month of May. However, Davis doesn't have a hit in June.

The slumping first baseman is 0-for-19 this month and was out of the Pirates' Sunday lineup against Milwaukee righty Yovani Gallardo. Davis, a left-handed hitter, usually gets his days off against southpaws, but manager Clint Hurdle said he anticipates Davis won't start for the next three games -- the Bucs face Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson on Monday and lefty Travis Wood the following day.

"Ike's been challenged offensively here the past 10 days," Hurdle said. "He hit a [blast] in L.A., but the at-bats have been challenging. ... I'm going to give him some time to work on some things."

The blast Hurdle spoke of was a pivotal homer Davis hit in a 2-1 win against the Dodgers on May 30. But since that game, his average has dropped 30 points to .244, and he has struck out in five of six contests this month.

Gaby Sanchez, who is hitting fourth Sunday, is set to start in Davis' place over the next few days. Sunday will mark Sanchez's 20th start of the 2014 campaign, and he has a .265/.314/.531 slash line. Sanchez also has had some previous success against Gallardo, going 8-for-30 (.267) with two homers.

Davis is the second case this week of a Pirate getting some time off because of a slump. Left fielder Starling Marte's average has dipped to .234 after a 1-for-25 streak. Marte is back in the lineup Sunday after not starting the last four games.

Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.
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