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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, June 11 (All times Eastern)

Chicago Cubs (26-36) at Pittsburgh Pirates (30-34), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Jason Hammel (6-3, 2.53) Pittsburgh - Brandon Cumpton (1-2, 6.51)

(SportsNetwork.com) - Surprise early-season star Jason Hammel carries a 14- inning scoreless streak into his Wednesday night assignment, which has his Chicago Cubs visiting PNC Park for the third game of a four-game series with the host Pittsburgh Pirates.

The veteran has pitched with four teams in nine big-league seasons and won seven times in 26 appearances with the Cubs last year, but his first 12 starts of 2014 have yielded the second-lowest opposition batting average in the major leagues (.191) along with the second-lowest percentage of walks and hits per inning pitched (0.88).

He's also not given up a home run in eight starts.

In his last start, on Friday against Miami, Hammel threw seven scoreless innings and struck out eight batters in a game the Cubs ultimately won, 5-3, in 13 innings.

He's 4-0 in his last nine starts against the Pirates and has already bested them twice this season, allowing one run in 6 2/3 innings on April 3, then giving up three runs in seven innings on April 9.

Pittsburgh enters a day after its Tuesday starter, Francisco Liriano, left after just four innings against the Cubs due to left-side discomfort.

Starting Wednesday is youngster Brandon Cumpton, who defeated Milwaukee with 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball on Friday. It marked a nice recovery from his previous outing, in which he was raked for 11 runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Foes have hit .211 against him in their first at-bats, but .387 from then on.

He has never faced the Cubs.

On Tuesday, Anthony Rizzo went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBI as the Cubs beat the Pirates, 7-3.

Rizzo also collected two doubles and scored three runs, while Luis Valbuena drove in a pair of runs for the Cubs. Chicago starter Travis Wood (6-5), who came in with a league-worst 8.04 ERA on the road, tossed a solid 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and two walks.

Pirates top prospect Gregory Polanco made his long-awaited major league debut, going 1-for-5 with a single and a run scored. Andrew McCutchen smashed a two- run home run for the Pirates. Casey Sadler (0-1) was tagged for four runs on four hits in just 2 2/3 innings of relief to absorb the loss.

The Pirates have won five of eight versus the Cubs this season.

06/11 10:40:20 ET

  • ACC: North Carolina at Virginia

    Tomorrow at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Seattle at Carolina

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Pittsburgh

    Sunday at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Logan Zone with Steve Logan

    Tomorrow at 10:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

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