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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, April 23rd (All times Eastern)

Pittsburgh Pirates (10-9) at Philadelphia Phillies (9-11), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Jeff Locke (1-1, 5.17) Philadelphia - Cole Hamels (0-2, 6.46)

(Sports Network) - Cole Hamels has pitched well in his previous two starts following a rocky beginning, but still has no wins to show for it.

The Philadelphia Phillies have dropped all four of Hamels' starts this season and will try to get their ace left-hander on the board Tuesday in the second installment of a four-game series versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Hamels was 0-2 with a 10.97 earned run average after his first two trips to the hill, then rebounded with decent back-to-back starts. He held Miami to a run in six innings for a no-decision on April 13 and followed that assignment in last Thursday's 4-3 loss to St. Louis. He did not figure into the decision in that one either as he gave up three runs in seven innings.

"You have to be better than good," Hamels said after facing the Cardinals. "In order to win ballgames, you have to be great all the time."

The 2008 World Series MVP lowered his ERA to 6.46 and will take on Pittsburgh for the sixth time in his career. Hamels is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA over the first five appearances against the Pirates.

Philadelphia has won two in a row and three of four games since losing four in a row and took the opener of this Pittsburgh series, 3-2, Monday night. Jonathan Pettibone made his major league debut and didn't disappoint, holding the Buccos to a pair of runs in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed six hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter.

"The nerves were definitely flying ... but once I settled down I got into a nice little rhythm," Pettibone said

Raul Valdes came in to pick up the final two outs of the top of the sixth to get the win, while closer Jonathan Papelbon threw a scoreless ninth for his fourth save. Jimmy Rollins had two hits and two RBI and Chase Utley continued to improve with a pair of hits. John Mayberry cooled off and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

The Phillies are 3-2 on an eight-game homestand.

Pittsburgh had won three straight and nine of 12 games before losing Monday's series opener at Citizens Bank Park.

Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin provided the offense with a home run apiece and starting pitcher A.J. Burnett did not record a decision with five innings of two-run ball and seven strikeouts.

"At times I had it, and at times I didn't. ... You have to be more effective than that," Burnett said.

Jared Hughes suffered the loss when Rollins singled home Erik Kratz in the bottom of the sixth for a 3-2 score.

The Pirates opened a 10-game road trip against the Phillies and will also visit St. Louis and Milwaukee.

Jeff Locke draws the start Tuesday for Pittsburgh and is 1-1 with a 5.17 earned run average in three starts. After Locke defeated Cincinnati on April 13 with five innings of one-run ball, he was slapped with a no-decision in Thursday's 6-4 loss to Atlanta. Locke allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings with four walks and three K's.

The left-hander has never faced Philadelphia in his career.

Pittsburgh won four of seven matchups with the Phillies a season ago.

04/23 10:30:35 ET

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