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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, August 19 (All times Eastern)
Atlanta Braves (65-60) at Pittsburgh Pirates (64-61), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Aaron Harang (9-7, 3.51) Pittsburgh - Francisco Liriano (3-9, 3.78)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Pirates are expected to welcome back Andrew McCutchen on Tuesday night in the second contest of a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves.
McCutchen, the reigning National League MVP, landed on the 15-day disabled list due to a fractured left rib and is eligible to be activated on Tuesday. He took swings at PNC Park prior to last night's opener without issue.
McCutchen is hitting .311 in 109 games this year with 17 homers and 67 RBI.
"The way I injured it was by swinging. So swinging is the biggest thing," McCutchen told Pittsburgh's website. "If the swinging feels good, I feel good. And the swinging felt good (Monday)."
The Pirates have gone just 5-9 since McCutchen got hurt and lost their sixth game in a row with last night's 7-3 setback to the Braves.
Atlanta opened the game with Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons hitting home runs to spark a six-run first inning. That helped Ervin Santana get the win as he yielded three runs over 5 1/3 innings.
All three homers he allowed came on solo homers.
"For me, it wasn't my best game today," Santana said. "I gave up three runs, and when you don't have your best stuff and you give up three runs that's huge, three solo homers, it doesn't hurt."
Atlanta has won five of its last six despite Pittsburgh's Starling Marte going deep twice on Monday and Neil Walker also homering.
Starter Vance Worley, meanwhile, did rebound to log six innings, striking out eight.
"In the first inning I was east-west," Worley said. "I was just missing and staying flat. After that, I figured it out and it clicked."
Pittsburgh hopes that things click for a victory tonight for left-hander Francisco Liriano, who has a 3-9 record despite a solid 3.78 earned run average.
Liriano has lost consecutive outings and four of his past six decisions, charged with two runs on three hits and four walks in a 5-2 loss to Detroit on Thursday. He also fanned nine over his six innings.
"I got a lot of swings and misses," Liriano said. "I wasn't trying to do too much, just locate pitches. I was using all my pitches well."
The 30-year-old beat Atlanta the only other time he faced them, striking out 11 over eight innings of one-run ball.
The Braves have lost eight of Aaron Harang's last six starts and the righty hopes to halt that skid tonight.
Harang did not factor into the first five decisions of his current drought before taking a 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. He was roughed up for five runs on seven hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings.
The 36-year-old is 9-7 with a 3.51 ERA this year and 15-7 lifetime versus Pittsburgh with a 4.19 ERA.
Atlanta lost three of four in Pittsburgh last season, but then later swept a three-game set at home over the Pirates.
08/19 10:47:03 ET
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