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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 11th (All times eastern)

Pittsburgh Pirates (6-3) at Milwaukee Brewers (7-2), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Francisco Liriano (0-1, 3.00) Milwaukee - Wily Peralta (0-0, 3.60)

(SportsNetwork.com) - National League Central Division rivals square off at Miller Park Friday, as the Milwaukee Brewers host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a three-game weekend series.

Six of the Pirates' first nine games have been decided by one run, and they have won five of them.

"They're fun. That's who we are," manager Clint Hurdle said of the tight games. "The guys are just getting dirty with it."

Of course, Hurdle would love to see cleanup hitter Pedro Alvarez continue his tear at the plate. Alvarez became the first Pirates player to have two multi- homer games in the first eight games of the season. He went deep again on Thursday afternoon along with teammate Travis Snider as Pittsburgh claimed a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs.

"He's become much more aware of where he gets pitched, and has learned that he is much better served when he hits the ball hard where it's pitched," Hurdle said of Alvarez. "There isn't a ballpark that can hold him, and he can leave any park from line to line."

At 7-2, Milwaukee is tied with Washington for the best record in the majors and holds a one-game lead over Pittsburgh in the NL Central standings. The Brewers are back home after wrapping up an impressive 6-0 road trip in Boston and Philadelphia.

"The Pirates are coming to town, so we have to treat them just like we did Boston and Philly," Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "We have to take them seriously and be ready to roll."

Toeing the rubber for Milwaukee will be right-hander Wily Peralta, who allowed five runs (two earned) in five innings of an eventual 7-6, 11-inning loss at Boston last Saturday.

"It's going to be tough," Peralta said. "Pittsburgh has a good team, they showed that last year. St. Louis pretty much has the same team. We definitely have a better team, I know that."

For Pittsburgh, lefty Francisco Liriano gets the nod and will look to rebound from a tough outing against St. Louis last weekend. Liriano went six innings and allowed four runs in that game, including three in the opening frame, as the Pirates went on to fall, 6-1.

The Bucs went 12-7 against Milwaukee last year, and that includes a 5-4 mark inside Miller Park. During a five-year stretch through 2011, they had lost 38 of 42 at Milwaukee.

04/11 10:26:06 ET

Scoreboard
Local
7:05pm Tonight
LEH
DUR
 
1st
CLE 0
KAN 0
 
6:10pm Tonight
BOS 0
TOR 0
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
CWS
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
TAM
7:10pm Tonight
CIN
MIL
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
NYM
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
WAS
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
PIT
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
SEA
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
DET
8:15pm Tonight
STL
PHI
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
COL
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
HOU
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
SFG
7:00pm Tonight
BRK
ATL
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
MIL
10:30pm Tonight
POR
MEM
7:00pm Tonight
DET
TAM
7:30pm Tonight
WAS
NYI
7:05pm Tonight
LEH
DUR