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Posted at 08:07 AM ET, 07/23/2011

Leading off: Pittsburgh Pirates try to stop two-game slide against St. Louis Cardinals

Game of the day: St. Louis at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m. If Pittsburgh hopes to stay near the top of the National League Central, it will have to keep winning series against its division rivals. The Pirates took two of three from Cincinnati earlier this week, and they need to win Saturday and Sunday to do the same against the Cardinals after dropping Friday’s series opener. All-star Kevin Correia takes the hill for the Pirates — who have lost two straight — in his third attempt at picking up his 12th win of the season. St. Louis will send out Jaime Garcia, who has given up two runs or fewer in six of his past seven starts. The left-hander has struggled away from Busch Stadium with a 5.16 road ERA this season heading into this matchup of teams that are separated by percentage points in the division standings.

Other game to watch: Milwaukee at San Francisco, 9:05 p.m. The Giants have been great at AT&T Park this season, and the Brewers have struggled on the road, so on paper, this one favors the defending World Series champions. Luckily for Milwaukee, Saturday’s starter, Randy Wolf, has had success in San Francisco. The left-hander has a 2.59 ERA in nine starts there. He’ll have to be at his best to match San Francisco’s unlikely all-star Ryan Vogelsong. The right-hander pitched into the seventh inning without allowing a run in his first start after the all-star break to lower his season ERA to 2.02. He’ll try to keep the Giants rolling at home before they head east for a six-game road trip next week.

Games you should have seen:

Atlanta 6, Cincinnati 4: Dan Uggla came off the bench to play hero, cracking a two-run, pinch-hit homer run off reliever Nick Massett to put the Braves ahead in the top of the ninth. Uggla is hitting just .195 this season, but the second baseman picked a great time for his 18th homer. Martin Prado’s home run tied the game in the seventh and Atlanta’s bullpen tossed three scoreless innings in relief of Jair Jurrjens to help the Braves (59-41) pull off the comeback and keep pace in the NL East.

Chicago White Sox 3, Cleveland 0 : The White Sox can’t afford to lose much more ground to the teams in front of them in the American League Central, and Carlos Quentin and Gavin Floyd helped ensure they didn’t fall any further in the standings on Friday night. Quentin blasted a three-run home run in the fifth inning — his 20th of the season — and Floyd combined with two relievers on a five-hit shutout that pulled the White Sox within 3 1/2 games of Cleveland.

Star of the night: Nelson Cruz drove in runs with hits in each of his four at-bats en route to a career-high eight RBI in Texas’s 12-2 win against Toronto. The outfielder smacked his 22nd home run of the season in the fourth inning and also added run-scoring hits in the second, fifth and sixth innings. The performance tied the most RBI in a game by a major league player this season.

Stat you should know: 12. Wins for Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels after allowing just one run in eight innings with 10 strikeouts against San Diego on Friday. With the 3-1 victory, Hamels joined Atlanta’s Jurrjens atop the NL wins list and equaled his win total from all of last season.

Chatter:We’re trying to stop this.” — Seattle starting pitcher Felix Hernandez on his team’s 13-game losing streak, which is just one shy of a Mariners record. Hernandez allowed six runs on 11 hits in 6.1 innings on Friday as the slide continued with a 7-4 loss in Boston.

By  |  08:07 AM ET, 07/23/2011

Categories:  Baseball Insider

 
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