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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, August 5 (All times eastern)

Miami Marlins (54-57) at Pittsburgh Pirates (59-52), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Miami - Brad Hand (2-3, 4.15) Pittsburgh - Charlie Morton (5-10, 3.54)

(SportsNetwork.com) - After a bitter end to their 10-game road trip, the Pittsburgh Pirates return to PNC Park on Tuesday night to begin a three-game series with the Miami Marlins.

Miami has lost four of its last five after Sunday's 7-3 setback against Cincinnati. The Marlins were out-hit, 15-5, while starter Jacob Turner lasted only four innings as he gave up five runs on nine hits.

Over the course of the four-game series, Miami's offense managed just run against each of the Reds' starters and went 5-for-24 with runners in scoring position.

On Monday, the Marlins enjoyed their first day off since last month's All-Star break.

"Guys are beat up," manager Mike Redmond said. "... We got a lot of guys that played a lot. They're grinding and a little frustrated at times, which is natural. We'll be fine though."

The Pirates are back at PNC Park to begin an eight-game homestand after wrapping up a 5-5 west coast trip. They are coming off Sunday's 3-2 loss at Arizona in 10 innings, which ended with a controversial call.

Arizona's Nick Ahmed slid into second base with his arms extended upward, which broke up Jayson Nix's double play turn when the relay throw struck Ahmed's arm. Instead of an inning-ending double play, Tuffy Gosewisch wound up scoring and the Diamondbacks went into post-game celebration mode while Pirates manager Clint Hurdle urged the umpires for a runner's interference call. However, the crew chief determined the play was not reviewable, thus ending the game.

"This was a challenging point of the season," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We have nothing planned (for Monday's off day) -- returning home, especially with the time change, absolutely encourage everybody to just take a day off."

Monday's off day was certainly music to the ears of reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, who exited Sunday's game in the eighth inning after injuring his left side on a game-tying sacrifice fly.

According to McCutchen, X-rays were negative, although he said he has never previously dealt with this particular injury.

"The side has never been a problem ever in my life, so I've never had to deal with this, so who knows," McCutchen said.

The Pirates now return to their home ballpark, where they have won 14 of 17.

Charlie Morton will toe the rubber in Friday's series opener, as he tries to rebound from back-to-back starts that saw him allow four-plus earned runs, the first time he has had that happen in consecutive starts since May 2012.

Morton, who is 5-10 with a 3.54 ERA on the season, needs just two more strikeouts to match his career high of 110, set in 2010.

For Miami, southpaw Brad Hand gets the nod and will look to go seven innings or more for a fourth straight start. Most recently, he allowed three earned runs on five hits over seven innings of work against Washington on Wednesday. After giving up a first-inning run, Hand had retired 21 of 24 batters before yielding a pair of runs in the eighth.

The Pirates won two of three when these teams met up in Miami from June 13-15.

08/05 10:30:47 ET

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