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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 10th (All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Pirates (5-3) at Chicago Cubs (3-5), 2:20 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Gerrit Cole (1-0, 2.57) Chicago - Travis Wood (0-1, 4.26)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Gerrit Cole goes after his second win of the season on Thursday when the Pittsburgh Pirates play the rubber match of their three-game series with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Cole was terrific in his season debut on Friday versus the St. Louis Cardinals, as he surrendered two runs and six hits over seven innings to get the win.
"His command was come-and-go," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "To average 15 pitches on a night you're not sharp ... that speaks to his ability to go out there against a good lineup and find a way to get things done when he doesn't have his best stuff."
It was the fifth straight regular season win for Cole, who has pitched to a 1.64 ERA in those outings. Chicago is certainly aware of how well Cole has pitched, as it has lost twice to him during that stretch.
The Cubs, meanwhile, will counter with righty Travis Wood, who lost to Philadelphia his first time out on Friday. Wood lasted 6 1/3 innings in that one and was reached for four runs (3 earned) and six hits. However, he did strike out eight without walking a batter.
"I'd like to have a couple pitches back, but other than that, I thought I kept us in the game," Wood said.
Wood has faced the Pirates 10 times (9 starts) and is 4-5 against them with a 3.35 ERA.
After losing Tuesday's opener, Chicago bounced back on Wednesday, as Junior Lake and Mike Olt smacked back-to- back home runs in the fifth inning to help the Cubs to a 7-5 win.
Jason Hammel (2-0) went seven strong innings for the Cubs, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out six. Anthony Rizzo went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored while Emilio Bonifacio continued his torrid start to the campaign, recording two more hits in the triumph.
Bonifacio, who is 16-for-26 in five games against the Pirates this year, now has 19 hits in eight games, matching Randy Jackson's 1954 club record.
Pittsburgh got its five runs on five solo homers, including a pair from both Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin. Travis Snider also left the park for the Pirates.
"I got my first taste of Wrigley," joked Hammel, who signed with Chicago over the winter. "When the wind's howling out, you have to keep the ball down. I only made three mistakes today, and they all left the yard."
Jose Tabata's pinch-hit single in the eighth inning was the only Pittsburgh hit that did not leave the ballpark.
Wandy Rodriguez (0-2) was tagged for four runs on nine hits over five innings of work.
A win in Thursday's rubber game would give the Pirates three straight series wins to start the season for only the fourth time in the last 50 years; they did it in 1966, '76 and '92.
04/10 10:26:39 ET
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