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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, August 31st (All times Eastern)

St. Louis Cardinals (78-56) at Pittsburgh Pirates (78-56), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Lance Lynn (13-8, 4.02) Pittsburgh - A.J. Burnett (6-9, 3.18)

(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Pirates began their giant series with the St. Louis Cardinals looking like a team determined to end its lengthy playoff drought.

The Pirates now look to grab sole possession of first place in the NL Central on Saturday night and inch closer to securing their first winning season since 1992.

Pittsburgh came into Friday's opener of this three-game set trailing St. Louis by a game for first place. The Pirates, though, posted a statement-making 5-0 victory over their rivals, guided by Francisco Liriano's eight innings of two- hit ball.

Liriano won his career-high 15th game of the season, limiting the Cardinals to a pair of walks and striking out six.

"He's very determined right now," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Liriano.

Garrett Jones and Russell Martin both hit solo homers, with Jones driving in four runs with three hits.

The Pirates and Cards have identical 78-56 records as Pittsburgh eyes its first winning season and playoff berth since its 96-66 campaign in 1992.

Shelby Miller was touched for all five runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings for St. Louis, which was also shut out 10-0 on Wednesday versus Cincinnati.

"I made some mistakes with some pitches and they put good swings on it," Miller said of his outing. "At the end of the day they just played better than us."

A.J. Burnett and Lance Lynn battled to a no-decision in an Aug. 15 meeting in St. Louis and square off again tonight for their respective clubs.

Burnett had held the Cardinals to three runs over 20 innings in his first three meetings with them this year, going 2-0, before giving up five runs over 4 1/3 frames in the last encounter.

All five runs allowed came in the bottom of the fifth inning after the Pirates had gotten to Lynn for four runs in the top of the frame. The St. Louis righty lasted 5 1/3 innings in the game, moving him to 2-0 with a 3.86 earned run average in four meetings this season with Pittsburgh.

That outing is part of a four-game winless stretch for Lynn, who is 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in that time. The 26-year-old gave up four runs for a third start in a row in Sunday's 5-2 setback to Atlanta, falling to 13-8 with a 4.02 earned run average in 27 starts this year.

The right-handed Burnett has also hit a rough patch as of late. He allowed three earned runs or fewer in 19 of his first 20 starts on the season, but has given up four or more in three of his past four appearances.

Burnett is coming off a loss at San Francisco on Sunday, when he was charged with four runs on eight hits and three walks over 7 1/3 innings. The 36-year- old dropped to 6-9 with a 3.18 ERA on the season.

The Pirates are 9-5 versus the Cardinals this season.

08/31 10:24:41 ET

Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUR 4
GWI 2
 
Final
DUR 1
GWI 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
LEH
DUR
 
Final
DET 8
CLE 6
Final
CIN 2
CHC 5
Final
TAM 5
TOR 1
Final
MIA 6
WAS 2
Final
PHI 5
ATL 4
Final
BAL 18
BOS 7
Final
MIL 6
STL 3
Final
CWS 5
KAN 3
Final
ANA 4
TEX 5
Final
OAK 6
HOU 7
Final
SDP 3
LOS 1
Final
SEA 2
MIN 4
Final
ARI 0
PIT 8
4:10pm Sunday
COL 0
SFG 0
Final
NYY 6
NYM 4
6:10pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
6:10pm Tonight
BOS
TOR
 
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
 
Final
BOS 93
CLE 101
Final
SAN 105
LAC 114
Final
WAS 125
TOR 94
Final
DAL 121
HOU 109
7:00pm Tonight
BRK
ATL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
MIL
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
MEM
 
Final
MIN 4
STL 1
Final
OTT 0
MON 2
7:00pm Tonight
DET
TAM
 
7:30pm Tonight
WAS
NYI
 
Final
DUR 4
GWI 2
 
Final
DUR 1
GWI 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
LEH
DUR