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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, May 16th (All times Eastern)

Pittsburgh Pirates (17-19) at Washington Nationals (22-14), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Erik Bedard (2-4, 2.57) Washington - Gio Gonzalez (4-1, 1.94)

(Sports Network) - Lefty Gio Gonzalez makes his second career start against Pittsburgh tonight when the Washington Nationals host the Pirates in the first half of a two-game series at Nationals Park.

The 26-year-old allowed a run on four hits in six innings of his only previous encounter with Pittsburgh, but walked away without figuring in the decision.

He opened this season unbeaten through his initial four starts before a 2-0 loss at Los Angeles, but has since bounced back with two more wins - against Philadelphia and Cincinnati - while allowing three runs on nine hits in 12 innings.

He's 2-0 at home this year and has allowed just a run on eight hits in 21 innings, while walking three and striking out 22.

The Pirates counter with 33-year-old southpaw Erik Bedard, who pitches for the first time since exiting a May 9 start against Washington with back spasms.

Bedard worked a scoreless inning before leaving that game - a 4-2 Pittsburgh win - and had this subsequent assignment pushed back two days to allow for a complete recovery.

He's allowed just three earned runs in 20 career innings against the Nationals, though it's resulted in a loss and three no-decisions in four starts.

The Ontario native dropped his first four starts of the season in 2012, but recovered to beat Atlanta and St. Louis on the road before the aborted start against Washington.

On Tuesday in Miami, Josh Johnson picked up his first win of the season, Hanley Ramirez hit a pair of RBI doubles and the Marlins defeated the Pirates, 6-2.

Kevin Correia (1-4), who has lost each of his last four starts, gave up six runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings. Michael McKenry had a solo homer for Pittsburgh, which saw its season-high three-game win streak come to an end.

In Washington, John Baker collected three hits, drove in three runs and scored once as the San Diego Padres salvaged a split of a two-game set with the Nationals with a 6-1 win.

Stephen Strasburg (3-1) was smacked around for four runs on seven hits and two walks over just four frames. It was Strasburg's shortest outing of the season, and tied for the second-shortest in the young ace's career.

Bryce Harper hit a solo shot for the Nationals, who have lost two of three.

The Pirates won two of three when they hosted the Nats from May 8-10.

05/16 10:33:18 ET

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