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Washington at Pittsburgh

Venue: PNC Park

Stephen Strasburg hasn't faced the Pittsburgh Pirates since his sensational major league debut for the Washington Nationals nearly two years ago.

While the lights won't be as bright Thursday night at PNC Park, Strasburg looks to help the Nationals avoid a seventh consecutive road loss and a three-game sweep at the hands of the Pirates.

All eyes were on Strasburg on June 8, 2010, when he took the mound for his much-anticipated first big-league start. It's safe to say the highly touted right-hander exceeded the sky-high expectations, striking out a career-high 14 in seven dominating innings of a 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh (14-16).

Strasburg, who missed most of 2011 after undergoing Tommy John surgery since last facing the Pirates, now looks to slow down a Pirates team on the verge of its first three-game winning streak since last July 17-19. One night after prevailing 5-4 on Rod Barajas' two-run, walk-off homer, manager Clint Hurdle's club held on for a 4-2 victory Wednesday.

Andrew McCutchen matched a season high with four hits and left the yard for the second time in as many days while the bullpen allowed just one earned run over eight innings after starter Erik Bedard exited early due to back spasms.

Washington, which has scored a combined 12 runs during its six-game skid in opposing ballparks, hasn't dropped seven in a row on the road since June 15-28, 2010.

"I think guys are frustrated, not like we're out of it by any means but guys are frustrated because they know what we can do," Ian Desmond said. "We know we're a good offensive ballclub."

The Nationals, who are 5-1 when Strasburg (2-0, 1.66 ERA) pitches this season, have to like their chances of getting back on track behind their ace. Strasburg has limited opponents to a .187 average through his first six starts, fanning 38 in as many innings.

He was, however, somewhat pedestrian in most recent outing, yielding a season-high three runs - including a pair of solo homers - over six innings of Friday's 4-3, 11-inning win over Philadelphia.

"I left a couple of pitches up. It's an adjustment. It was just one of those games where they made me pay for it," Strasburg, who's stretch of 66 consecutive innings without surrendering a long ball was snapped, told the team's official website. "It was just a couple of pitches. It could have gone differently, whether they decided to swing at them or not."

Strasburg is 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA over his last seven road starts dating to his rookie campaign, allowing one or no runs in all but one of those outings.

He'll be opposed by Kevin Correia (1-2, 3.38), who's compiled a 5.56 ERA while losing his last two outings.

The right-hander was tagged for a season-worst five runs and nine hits over seven innings of Friday's 6-1 loss to Cincinnati, dropping to 1-5 over his last nine starts dating to last season.

Correia has, for the most part, held his own against the Nationals, going 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA in five career starts. Washington has hit .298 against him over those outings, though.

Correia will get his first look at phenom Bryce Harper, who's cooled off a bit. The 19-year-old outfielder has gone 3 for 18 over his last five games, dropping his average 110 points to .265.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Stephen Strasburg, RHP
2012 stats
38.0 Innings Pitched 29.1
2-0 Wins-Losses 1-2
1.66 Earned Run Average 3.38
7 Walks 9
38 Strikeouts 12
0.0 Pitches Per Start 0.0
Career vs. opponent
7.0 Innings Pitched 41.2
1-0 Wins-Losses 3-2
2.57 Earned Run Average 3.24

Kevin Correia, RHP
weather image  Afternoon clouds. Cool.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Washington1st NL East7858.574-5-5 W 1
Pittsburgh3rd NL Central7166.51836-4 L 2
vs Kevin Correia
vs Stephen Strasburg
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Series Game Log
Apr 4PITPIT 12-2Cole Miller 
Apr 5PITSTL 6-1Kelly Liriano 
Apr 6PITPIT 2-1Watson Wainwright 
Apr 25STLSTL 1-0Miller Cole 
Apr 26STLPIT 6-1Pimentel Lyons 
Apr 27STLSTL 7-0Wainwright Volquez 
May 9PITPIT 6-4Wilson Martinez 
May 10PITPIT 4-3Hughes Lynn 
May 11PITSTL 6-5Miller Morton 
Jul 7STLSTL 2-0Neshek Wilson 
Jul 8STLSTL 5-4Rosenthal Frieri 
Jul 9STLSTL 5-2Lynn Cumpton 
Jul 10STLPIT 9-1Volquez Miller 
Aug 25PITSTL 3-2Lackey Hughes 
Aug 26PITPIT 5-2Watson Maness 
Aug 27PITPIT 3-1Locke Wainwright 
Sep 1STLSTL 5-4Maness Cole 
Sep 2STL 8:15 PM EDT  
Sep 3STL 1:45 PM EDT