Major League Baseball
Preview
Pittsburgh at St. Louis
When: 8:15 PM ET, Friday, May 6, 2016
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

The Pittsburgh Pirates were sandblasted in a three-game sweep at the hands of the National League Central-leading Chicago Cubs and must try to regroup against another division opponent that appears to be finding its stride. The Pirates, losers of four in a row, open a three-game series at the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

Pittsburgh had won six in a row prior to its skid but was outscored 20-5 in the mauling by visiting Chicago to fall six games behind the Cubs. "It's disappointing to get swept but we're good about getting past things," Pirates outfielder Josh Harrison told reporters after Wednesday's 6-2 setback. "We came in, took a shower and now we're moving on." The Cardinals were in a tailspin of their own, dropping four straight before taking three of four from Philadelphia, including their first walk-off win of the season. St. Louis right-hander Carlos Martinez opposes Pittsburgh left-hander Francisco Liriano, who dominated the Cardinals as part of a season-opening three-game sweep.

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates LH Francisco Liriano (2-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Carlos Martinez (4-1, 2.60)

Liriano had been in a funk since striking out 10 over six scoreless innings against the Cardinals on April 3, giving up 11 runs and surrendering five homers while going 0-1 over his next three starts - all on the road. The 32-year-old Dominican bounced back with a strong effort last time out, limiting Cincinnati to one run on five hits over 6 2/3 innings. Liriano is 6-2 with a 2.40 ERA in 13 starts versus St. Louis and has stymied leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter (5-for-28).

Martinez struck out a season-high eight over 6 2/3 innings but suffered his first loss last time out against Washington, permitting four runs on seven hits, including two homers. He turned in a pair of stellar efforts in his previous two turns, giving up a combined one run on six hits in victories over Arizona and the Cubs. Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco (8-for-13) has tormented Martinez, who is 2-3 with a 4.71 ERA in 14 appearances (five starts) versus the Pirates.

WALK-OFFS

1. Cardinals RF Stephen Piscotty is riding a four-game hitting streak and has 11 RBIs in his last 11 contests.

2. Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen was 5-for-11 in last month's sweep of St. Louis.

3. Cardinals 1B Matt Adams, 8-for-19 in his last seven games, is day-to-day after banging his knee and exiting Thursday's 4-0 victory.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 4, Pirates 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Pittsburgh 15-13 L4 7-7 8-6 0-0 8-7 6-3 1-3
St. Louis 15-14 W2 8-8 7-6 6-4 5-7 4-3 0-0
Last Meeting
Pittsburgh St. Louis
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/6/16 STL 1 PIT 5 .290 0 .855 .129 1 .440
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh A. McCutchen .455 5 1.117
St. Louis Y. Molina .273 3 .657
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh G. Polanco 0 4 3
St. Louis J. Gyorko 1 1 2
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 1.86 .300 37
St. Louis 4.78 .168 22
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh J. Harrison .320 33 .769
St. Louis A. Diaz .381 32 1.101
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh A. McCutchen 6 19 12
St. Louis B. Moss 7 19 17
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 4.23 .282 227
St. Louis 3.74 .270 226