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Milwaukee at Pittsburgh

Venue: PNC Park
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The Pittsburgh Pirates will begin a six-game homestand Friday night with a share of the best record in baseball.

The Pirates can extend their longest win streak in nine years to seven games when they send Gerrit Cole to the mound to face the last-place Milwaukee Brewers.

Pittsburgh (48-30), tied with St. Louis atop the NL Central, went 7-2 on a trip against Cincinnati, the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle. The Pirates hit 13 homers and scored 39 runs during the club's longest win streak since a 10-game run June 26-July 5, 2004.

"It was a good trip. Very good trip,'' manager Clint Hurdle said.

This three-game set will begin with Hurdle handing the ball to Cole (3-0, 3.44 ERA), the first Pittsburgh pitcher to win his first three starts since Jim Nelson in 1970. The 22-year-old right-hander, who allowed two runs over 6 1-3 innings Friday in a 5-2 win over the Angels, has been quick to credit his teammates for his success.

"Good defense and good offense, I think," Cole said. "Those guys have been picking me up and it simplifies the game a little bit."

Cole beat Jered Weaver in his last outing after outdueling former Cy Young Award winners Tim Lincecum and Zack Greinke in his first two.

The mound opponent Friday will be less formidable in Johnny Hellweg, who will make his major league debut. Hellweg is getting the start since Alfredo Figaro went on the disabled list Wednesday with a strained right oblique.

The 6-foot-9 right-hander got the news of his callup in front of his entire team after Triple-A Nashville returned home from a series in New Orleans that ended Tuesday.

"I guess that was a feeling I've never had," Hellweg told the Brewers' official website. "It was kind of surreal. I guess the closest I've ever been to floating."

Hellweg was 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA for the Sounds, and posted a 4.15 ERA in five spring appearances for Milwaukee (32-45).

"The looks we got in spring training was he works quick," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Good stuff with the curveball and the fastball down in the zone, good movement on the fastball. He's got velocity on it."

Pittsburgh is 6-4 against Milwaukee this season, with Pedro Alvarez posting team highs of three homers and eight RBIs despite going 5 for 29 with 10 strikeouts overall. Alvarez is hitting .390 with five homers and 13 RBIs during a 10-game streak.

Andrew McCutchen is tied with Alvarez with three homers against Milwaukee.

Carlos Gomez leads the Brewers in the season series with a .361 average, four homers and eight RBIs. Gomez is expected back in the lineup Friday after missing three games due to a sprained left shoulder suffered in Sunday's loss to Atlanta.

Milwaukee split six games on a homestand that ended Thursday, losing the final two against the Cubs by committing four errors that led to six unearned runs.

"We're getting more consistent offensively, but then we have some miscues like this, we don't bounce out of it and they really hurt us," Roenicke said.

The Pirates are 8-0 after scheduled off days.

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

Johnny Hellweg, HP
2013 stats
0.0 Innings Pitched 18.1
0-0 Wins-Losses 3-0
--- Earned Run Average 3.44
0 Walks 1
0 Strikeouts 8
0.0 Pitches Per Start 83
Career vs. opponent
- Innings Pitched -
--- Wins-Losses ---
- Earned Run Average -

Gerrit Cole, RHP
Weather
weather image  Isolated tstorms. Partly sunny. Mild.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
78°F67°F10mph/SW62%50%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Milwaukee1st NL Central5241.559-1-9 L 5
Pittsburgh4th NL Central4845.51645-5 L 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Gerrit Cole
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Axford000000
Badenhop000000
Betancourt000000
Bianchi000000
Francisco000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Johnny Hellweg
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Barmes000000
Cole000000
Gomez000000
Grilli000000
Inge000000
 

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Injuries
Milwaukee
PlayerInjury
J. HendersonShoulder
T. ThornburgElbow
W. WangShoulder
Pittsburgh
PlayerInjury
C. BarmesGroin
G. ColeLat
F. LirianoOblique
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 14CINPPD   
Apr 15CINPIT 8-7Morris LeCure 
Apr 15CINCIN 7-5Leake Cole 
Apr 16CINCIN 4-0Cueto Liriano 
Apr 21PITPIT 6-5Hughes Hoover 
Apr 22PITCIN 4-1Cueto Volquez 
Apr 23PITCIN 5-2Simon Morton 
Apr 24PITCIN 2-1Cingrani Cumpton 
Jun 17PITCIN 6-5Ondrusek Grilli 
Jun 18PITCIN 11-4Simon Volquez 
Jun 19PITPIT 4-3Wilson Cingrani 
Jul 11CINCIN 6-5  
Jul 12CIN 7:15 PM EDT  
Jul 13CIN 1:10 PM EDT  
Aug 29PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Aug 30PIT 7:05 PM EDT  
Aug 31PIT 1:35 PM EDT  
Sep 26CIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 27CIN 4:10 PM EDT  
Sep 28CIN 1:10 PM EDT