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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, July 4 (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Phillies (37-48) at Pittsburgh Pirates (44-41), 5:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Roberto Hernandez (3-7, 4.26) Pittsburgh - Gerrit Cole (6-4, 4.02)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Gerrit Cole will try to bounce back from a rough start when he leads the Pittsburgh Pirates into Friday's opener of a three-game series versus the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park.
Cole made his first start since coming off the disabled list with shoulder fatigue in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the New York Mets and allowed all five runs and seven hits in a season-low four innings. Cole struck out four and walked three batters, and has issued that many free passes three times in the past six trips to the mound.
The young right-hander was 3-0 in his previous four starts and 4-1 in his past five decisions. Cole will be making his seventh start at PNC Park this season and is 2-1 with a 4.03 over the first six outings there. Cole, who has given up just one homer in the last four starts, lost his only career matchup against Philadelphia last July 4, when he allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 6-4 loss in the Steel City.
In the last 24 games, Pittsburgh starting pitchers have combined to go 12-6.
Cole Hamels got the win for the Phillies last Independence Day, but this time the club will hand the ball to Roberto Hernandez. Hernandez is a disappointing 3-7 with a 4.26 ERA and has dropped back-to-back starts and six of the past seven decisions. In Saturday's 10-3 loss to Atlanta, Hernandez lasted seven innings and pitched well, allowing four runs -- two earned -- and three hits.
Hernandez, a right-hander, has been reached for at least two runs in his last eight appearances and is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in two career games (1 start) against the Pirates.
The Pirates hope to jump on Hernandez early and failed in their attempt for a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks with Thursday's 10-2 loss. A seven-run top of the ninth inning put the Pirates in a big hole and they never threatened in the bottom half.
Gregory Polanco drove in a run and Andrew McCutchen ended with two hits for Pittsburgh, which had won five of six and 10 of their last 13 games, and is 5-2 on a 10-game homestand. The Pirates have still won each of the last four series and eight of their last 10.
Polanco, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on June 10, has reached base safely in 20 of his first 22 big league games. McCutchen is batting .343 with 32 RBI at home this season.
Vance Worley lasted seven innings in the start for Pittsburgh Thursday and allowed three runs and four hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
"Early on, I was able to get ahead in the count, throw strikes," Worley said. "And then, as the game went on, I lost command of my two-seam fastball, was getting behind."
Pirates relievers Ernesto Frieri allowed five runs and Jeanmar Gomez yielded two in the top of the ninth.
Philadelphia salvaged the finale of a three-game series in Miami with Thursday's 5-4 win over the Marlins and stopped a six-game slide.
Cameron Rupp had a big two-run double in the sixth inning, while Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Cesar Hernandez all drove in a run. Tony Gwynn, Jr. and Ben Revere scored the go-ahead runs in the ninth for the Phillies, who won for only the third time since June 21 (3-10).
"The good thing is we didn't get swept," Gwynn said. "We were able to get a win. Hopefully it'll propel us into some more. Getting swept is a bad feeling. Then having to get on a plane after that is even worse. We have to just keep grinding away."
Phils closer Jonathan Papelbon stranded a runner on second in the bottom half of the ninth to pick up his 19th save of the season. Jake Diekman collected the win despite giving up two runs on three hits in the eighth.
Kyle Kendrick got the start and allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings for the Phillies.
Philadelphia had lost four in a row on the road and will close the three-city, 10-game trip with four games at Milwaukee next week.
The Phillies expect to get outfielder Domonic Brown back Friday and he has been on the paternity list since Tuesday. Brown has struggled to a .225 batting average and last year's NL All-Star owns just five homers and 39 RBI.
07/04 10:31:31 ET
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