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Philadelphia at Pittsburgh

Venue: PNC Park
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Gerrit Cole surely couldn't have pictured a much better start to his major league career.

Cole Hamels probably couldn't have imagined a worse one to his season.

As Cole tries win the first five starts of his Pittsburgh Pirates career, Hamels looks to avoid matching his career high for losses as the Philadelphia Phillies close a three-game set at PNC Park.

Cole (4-0, 3.70 ERA) has been steady if not spectacular, winning every start he's made and allowing three runs or fewer in all of them. The Pirates have scored a whopping 23 runs in his 24 1-3 innings.

"It's really a team effort," Cole said. "I've pitched pretty well but I've gotten a lot of support defensively and our offense has been very opportunistic. It feels good to say I'm 4-0, but it feels even better because the team is playing well."

He needed the Pirates (52-31) to play well in his last start after he gave up three first-inning runs to Milwaukee, and they responded with seven runs in the second. Cole went on to pitch six innings and threw a season-high 94 pitches in the 10-3 victory.

The right-hander became the first Pittsburgh pitcher to win his first four big league starts since Nick Maddox in 1907.

While Cole has produced nothing but victories, Hamels (2-11, 4.58) has spent most of the season getting the short end of the stick. The left-hander leads the majors in losses and already has matched the highest total of his eight-year career - 11 defeats in 2009 and 2010.

His teammates helped him avoid surpassing that mark Wednesday, rallying from three runs down to beat San Diego 7-5 after Hamels allowed five runs in six innings.

"The guys really picked me up," said Hamels, who has received just 22 runs of support in his last 11 starts.

He hasn't had much luck against Pittsburgh, either. Though his 1.57 career ERA at PNC Park is his best of any stadium where he's pitched at least 20 innings, he is 0-1 in three starts there. The same trend continued in Philadelphia on April 23 in his first start against Pittsburgh this year, giving up two runs in eight innings of a 2-0 defeat.

Hamels will face an offense that emerged from a brief slump with a four-run fifth inning in a 6-5 victory Wednesday. The Pirates had scored seven runs in their previous 40 innings, including a 3-1 loss in Tuesday's series opener that ended their nine-game win streak.

"I'll tell you what - there's something special going on here," Wednesday's winning pitcher Jeff Locke said. "All the guys pull for each other every night. We're not out of a game, ever."

Russell Martin broke a 3-for-23 skid with an RBI single that tied the game in the fifth, and Pedro Alvarez followed with a three-run homer. Alvarez entered the night 0 for his last 10 with six strikeouts, but he's batting .395 with six homers since June 20.

While Alvarez hit his 21st home run Wednesday, Philadelphia's Domonic Brown notched his 22nd as he went 3 for 5. The only NL player ahead of them is Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez with 23.

Brown has three homers and 10 RBIs over his last eight games and could be headed for his first All-Star appearance, but his Phillies (40-45) have lost 15 of 24. They enter Thursday looking to avoid falling a season-high six games under .500.

"I'm thinking about our team and how we can start winning some games," Brown said. "The All-Star Game would be nice but the big thing is to get things turned around here."

The Phillies also hope to avoid a fifth straight series loss at PNC Park.

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

Cole Hamels, LHP
2013 stats
106.0 Innings Pitched 24.1
2-11 Wins-Losses 4-0
4.58 Earned Run Average 3.70
33 Walks 4
99 Strikeouts 11
103 Pitches Per Start 86
Career vs. opponent
42.0 Innings Pitched -
1-2 Wins-Losses ---
3.00 Earned Run Average -

Gerrit Cole, RHP
Weather
weather image  Thunderstorms. Cloudy. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
82°F71°F8mph/S66%60%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Philadelphia5th NL East7389.451233-7 L 2
Pittsburgh2nd NL Central8874.54326-4 L 2
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Gerrit Cole
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Brown000000
De Fratus000000
Diekman000000
Frandsen000000
Hamels000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Cole Hamels
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Marte42000.500
Barmes84102.500
Sanchez309227.300
Martin154113.267
Alvarez41002.250
 

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Injuries
Philadelphia
PlayerInjury
A. BurnettHernia
M. HollandsElbow
C. LeeElbow
J. RollinsHamstring
Pittsburgh
PlayerInjury
P. AlvarezFoot
C. MortonHernia
C. StewartWrist
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser