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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, August 30th (All times Eastern)

St. Louis Cardinals (78-55) at Pittsburgh Pirates (77-56), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Shelby Miller (12-8, 2.90) Pittsburgh - Francisco Liriano (14-6, 2.74)

(Sports Network) - The last time the St. Louis Cardinals visited Pittsburgh, they arrived in first place but ended up leaving town trailing the Pirates in the NL Central.

The Cardinals are again set to visit their rivals with a division lead at stake and hope to get off on a better foot Friday night in the opener of a three-game series versus the Pirates.

St. Louis is clinging to a one-game lead over Pittsburgh for first place in the division, with the Cincinnati Reds 3 1/2 games off the pace. It is similar to when the Cardinals last visited the Pirates, a five-game series that began in late July.

The Pirates took the first four games of that set, including a sweep of a doubleheader on July 30, before getting routed 13-0 in the finale on Aug. 1. Still, Pittsburgh turned a 1 1/2-game deficit into a 1 1/2-game lead for first place.

However, the Pirates have lost four of five and 12 of their last 19, a span that includes losing two of three in St. Louis from Aug. 13-15. The Cardinals have countered by winning 12 of their last 17.

St. Louis began a stretch of 13 straight against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh by winning two of three over the Reds. The Cardinals lost Wednesday's finale 10-0, but the Pirates failed to take advantage on Thursday by losing a 4-0 decision to Milwaukee in the rubber match of a three-game set.

The Pirates look to grab the early advantage in this series behind Francisco Liriano, who has won both of his starts versus the Cardinals this year. That includes a one-run complete game in St. Louis on Aug. 14.

The left-hander is 3-2 in five starts this month, allowing one run over 23 innings in the three victories. However, Liriano has yielded 14 runs and 21 hits in the two setbacks and is coming off a 6-3 loss at San Francisco on Saturday. He was charged with four runs on nine hits and two walks over four innings.

"Inconsistent command. At the end of the day, that's what it was," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said about Liriano.

The 29-year-old Liriano is 14-6 with a 2.74 earned run average in 20 starts this season, matching his season high for wins in a season set in 2010 with Minnesota. The first-year Buc is 7-3 with a 1.88 ERA in 10 starts this season versus the NL Central.

Countering for the Cardinals is 22-year-old Shelby Miller, who is winless in three starts against the Pirates this season. He has posted a 4.08 ERA in losing all three outings.

He has been solid versus the rest of the league, going 12-8 with a 2.90 ERA in 25 starts this year. Miller won for the first time in four starts on Saturday with a 6-2 decision over Atlanta, giving up just one run and three hits over seven innings while striking out six without a walk.

"My main goal tonight was to just keep my focus the entire game and just attack the zone," said Miller. "That's kind of what I've been lacking a little bit."

Since July, the righty has not allowed more than three earned runs in an outing.

The Pirates are 8-5 versus the Cardinals this season.

08/30 10:45:45 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Half
MIA 53
CHA 44
 
Half
MIA 53
CHA 44
 
2nd
MEM 43
LAC 29
 
Half
BOS 49
POR 44
 
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
GSW
9:30pm Tonight
LAL
DEN
Final
GMAS 60
COC 61
Final
FSU 69
UMASS 75
Final
SHSU 53
WOFF 64
Final
UNCG 67
YOUNG 76
Final
CMICH 75
ARKPB 43
 
Final
ILLCH 60
SILL 67
Final
MORE 46
AMER 51
Final
CORN 59
DREX 61
Final
CCST 60
COOK 65
Final
ARKLR 94
CSNO 88
Final
LEH 44
CLMB 54
 
Final
USB 89
MERMAR 54
 
Final
NMU 51
TEXAM 64
Final
STLU 56
TAMCC 62
 
Final
FAIR 80
SD 72
Final
EMICH 79
LONG 48
 
Final
ND 74
PROV 75
Final
RAD 88
CATAWBA 52
 
Final
DEN 80
COPST 54
 
Final
UAB 58
JST 50
 
Final
WICHS 105
NWM 57
Final
OKLA 90
NWST 68
Final
KSU 59
YALE 66
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
UCR 102
STKAT 49
 
Final
PSU 63
USC 61
 
Final
HC 101
NICHOLSCOL 70
 
Final
BC 53
DAY 65
 
Final
MON 75
TOWS 79
 
Final
HOF 93
WAGN 71
 
Final
CIN 54
EILL 49
 
Final
UGA 74
FATL 61
 
Final
BRAD 58
NCAT 50
 
Final
LATU 76
PBY 48
 
Final
RUTG 76
Terriers 73
 
2nd
SAMF 62
UMKC 50
 
2nd
NAVY 57
BING 60
 
Half
SHU 39
GWEBB 29
 
Half
UNT 32
IONA 32
 
Half
KENT 39
MNTST 11
 
Half
FORD 24
MLOWELL 25
 
2nd
UCF 45
USCU 43
 
1st
SCAR 18
AKR 22
 
7:00pm Tonight
WVU
UCONN
7:00pm Tonight
CALST
DEL
 
7:00pm Tonight
HOW
HOOD
 
7:00pm Tonight
OSU
SHU
7:00pm Tonight
VANDY
TENST
8:00pm Tonight
NE
MAN
8:00pm Tonight
COLST
MERC
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
NARZ
8:00pm Tonight
WASH
PAC
8:00pm Tonight
LMU
SDCHR
 
9:00pm Tonight
CHAR
MIAMI
9:00pm Tonight
ILLST
ODU
9:00pm Tonight
GAELS
UCI
10:00pm Tonight
UCLA
LBSU
10:30pm Tonight
SEAT
MONT
 
3rd
WIN 2
STL 3
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
MON
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
ARI
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
CHI
Final
HOU 13
CIN 22
Final
ATL 24
CLE 26
Final
NEP 34
DET 9
Final
MIN 21
GBP 24
Final
IND 23
JAC 3
Final
CHI 21
TAM 13
Final
PHI 43
TEN 24
Final
SEA 19
ARI 3
 
4th
SDC 27
STL 24
 
4th
DEN 25
MIA 28
 
4th
SFX 17
WAS 13
 
8:30pm Tonight
NYG
DAL