Series: Game 4 of 4

Pittsburgh won 3-1

Game 1: Monday, September 8
Game 2: Tuesday, September 9
Game 3: Wednesday, September 10
Game 4: Thursday, September 11

Pirates 4

(77-69, 33-41 away)

Phillies 1

(67-79, 34-41 home)

    Coverage:  CSN

    7:05 PM ET, September 11, 2014

    Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

    123456789 R H E
    PIT 010003000 4 8 0
    PHI 000000001 1 6 0

    W: F. Liriano (5-10)

    L: A. Burnett (8-16)

    S: M. Melancon (29)

    Pirates-Phillies Preview


    With one of their top sluggers likely out for the rest of this season, the Pittsburgh Pirates might need to lean on their pitchers a little more down the stretch.

    Francisco Liriano has proved reliable for much of the second half, especially his last three starts, and will try to produce another strong outing in Thursday night's finale against the Philadelphia Phillies and former Pirates teammate A.J. Burnett.

    Pedro Alvarez is expected to miss four to six weeks for Pittsburgh (76-69) because of a stress fracture in his left foot. The third baseman was third on the team with 18 homers and had hit three in four games before hurting his foot in a 5-2 win over St. Louis on Aug. 26.

    The Pirates gave Alvarez a pinch-hit appearance in Friday's 5-3 victory at Wrigley Field before giving an update Wednesday.

    Pittsburgh has an MLB-best 2.40 ERA in its last 19 games and a 2.33 mark in the 13 games since Alvarez's injury. Vance Worley gave up three runs in five innings in Wednesday's 6-3 win over Philadelphia.

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first inside-the-park home run and Russell Martin drove in three to keep the Pirates 1 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta and Milwaukee for the NL's second wild card. They also moved within 3 1/2 games of St. Louis in the Central.

    Pittsburgh will try to keep driving with its sixth win in seven games Thursday and its 12th in 16 matchups against the Phillies (67-78). Liriano (4-10, 3.74 ERA) will also try to lead the Pirates to their eighth victory in the last 10 games in Philadelphia.

    The left-hander, who has never faced the Phillies, is 1-0 with a 0.95 ERA in his past three starts and earned his first win in seven games Saturday. He fanned nine and yielded three hits in six innings in a 5-0 victory over the Cubs. Liriano had his second scoreless effort in three outings and improved to 3-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 10 starts since the All-Star break.

    He's also 3-3 with a 2.08 ERA in his last nine road outings.

    "As long as we win the game, I'm fine with it," Liriano told MLB's official website. "I do want to win, too, but the main thing is going out there to keep the team in the game by doing my job."

    Burnett has more losses than his former teammate but has won two of his last three starts. He gave up one run in seven innings in his latest outing Saturday, a 3-1 win in Washington.

    Burnett (8-15, 4.29), who has never lost 16 games in a season, took a 6-2 road defeat in his only matchup with the Pirates this season July 6.

    The right-hander gave up three runs in seven innings and struck out seven in his first meeting with Pittsburgh since leaving to sign a one-year deal with Philadelphia. He played two seasons with the Pirates and won his final two regular-season starts in 2013 while helping them to their first playoff appearance in 21 years.

    After Liriano won the wild card game against Cincinnati, Burnett struggled in the division series opener against St. Louis.

    The Pirates' Starling Marte, batting .390 in a 10-game hit streak, went 2 for 4 on Wednesday for his fifth consecutive multhit performance and is now hitting .358 lifetime against Philadelphia. Jordy Mercer is 11 for 21 (.524) during a seven-game hit streak versus the Phillies.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakL2L2
    Last 106-43-7

    Pitching Matchup

    F. Liriano
    7-10, 3.38 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 at CIN
    5.0 IP, 3 ER
    Dec = ND
    A. Burnett
    8-18, 4.59 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 at PHI
    6.2 IP, 4 ER
    Dec = Loss

    Gameday Lineups

    1. J. Harrison, 3B B. Revere, CF
    2. T. Snider, LF M. Franco, 3B
    3. A. McCutchen, CF M. Byrd, RF
    4. N. Walker, 2B R. Howard, 1B
    5. R. Martin, C D. Ruf, LF
    6. S. Marte, LF C. Ruiz, C
    7. I. Davis, 1B C. Hernandez, 2B
    8. J. Mercer, SS F. Galvis, SS
    9. F. Liriano, P A. Burnett, P

    Research Notes

    A.J. Burnett is throwing an MLB-high (among qualifiers) 46 percent of pitches on the inner third of the plate or further inside to left-handed hitters this season. Neil Walker is hitting .272 and slugging .479 from the left side of the plate this season, but only .217 and .386, respectively, in at-bats ending with an inside pitch.
    Francisco Liriano threw 8 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits with 12 strikeouts. He's just the 4th Pirates starter with those numbers or better in a start since 1980, and the first since Kip Wells in 2003, also against the Phillies.

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