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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 25th (All times Eastern)

Pittsburgh Pirates (9-14) at St. Louis Cardinals (12-11), 8:15 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Gerrit Cole (2-1, 3.67) St. Louis - Shelby Miller (1-2, 3.57)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Cardinals are back in the Gateway City and will start a six-game homestand Friday with the first of three straight games versus the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals just went 5-6 on their recent road trip and lost three of four games to the New York Mets, including Thursday's 4-1 setback at Citi Field.

Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn was aiming for his fifth win of the season, but suffered the loss after allowing three runs -- two earned -- and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked two batters.

Kolten Wong had two hits and a run scored, while Tony Cruz drove in the lone run for the Cardinals.

"One thing that sticks out to me and sticks out to our guys is we're not playing the kind of baseball that we can play with the things that we can control, solid defense and doing the little things right," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

Shelby Miller gets the start for St. Louis Friday and is 1-2 with a 3.57 earned run average in four trips to the mound. Miller did not receive a decision in Sunday's 3-2 loss at Washington and allowed four hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings.

Miller, who won 15 games in 31 starts last season, lost at Pittsburgh on April 4, when he gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 12-2 setback. The right- hander hasn't had much success against the Pirates in his young career, going 0-5 in all five starts with a 5.93 ERA.

Pittsburgh just went 2-6 on an eight-game homestand and lost the last three contests of a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.

The Pirates lost for the 11th time in the last 14 games with Thursday's 2-1 setback to the Reds, as starting pitcher Brandon Cumpton surrendered the go- ahead two-run double to Ryan Ludwick in the sixth inning.

"I let a couple of pitches get away from me in that sixth inning, and it kind of hurt me," Cumpton said. "I was being aggressive, going in -- and a couple of those [hit batters] were with two strikes. But that's going to happen -- I pitch inside a lot. Unfortunately, it came back to haunt me today."

Neil Walker had two hits and a run scored and Pedro Alvarez drove in the lone run in the first inning for the Pirates.

Gerrit Cole draws the start for Pittsburgh Friday and did not record a decision his last time out in a 3-2 loss to Milwaukee. Cole threw eight innings of one-run ball and was involved in an altercation with Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez, who admired what he thought was a home run and ended up with a triple. Cole had a few words for Gomez and both benches cleared.

Cole is 2-1 with a 3.67 earned run average and defeated St. Louis in the aforementioned 12-2 beating on April 4. He hurled seven innings of two-run ball in his first appearance against the Central rival Cardinals.

Pittsburgh took two of three at home from the Cardinals earlier this month and went 10-9 in the series a year ago.

04/25 10:32:30 ET