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Pittsburgh at Miami

Venue: Marlins Park
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After being forced to wait almost two weeks between starts because of a back injury, Jeff Locke was impressive again his last time out.

That could mean bad news for the Miami Marlins, who have won three of four despite inconsistent run production.

The Pittsburgh Pirates hope for Locke's fourth win in five starts Friday night when they visit the Marlins.

Locke (9-2, 2.11 ERA) experienced soreness in his back during a 2-1 loss against Oakland on July 8, then missed his next scheduled start and was held out of the All-Star Game. But he looked no worse for wear Sunday, allowing an infield single, four walks and one run over six innings of a 3-2 win at Cincinnati.

It marked the left-hander's fifth quality start in his last six games, and his ERA crept closer to Clayton Kershaw's major league-leading mark of 2.01.

"The back's great," Locke told the team's official website. "Just going back to last week, pretty much proved to myself today that I stand by the decision that was made by the club and myself (to not pitch July 14). It's more important to miss one start to feel healthy and hopefully feel good the rest of the season."

Pittsburgh (60-40) had its four-game win streak snapped Thursday by Bryce Harper's walkoff home run in a 9-7 loss at Washington. Meanwhile, Miami (38-62) comes into a 10-game homestand after taking three of four in Colorado despite totaling 13 runs and 17 in its past eight games.

Giancarlo Stanton had two doubles in Thursday's 5-3 victory after going 2 for 21 in six contests since the All-Star break.

Long-term offensive improvement could be even harder to come by for the Marlins after learning Thursday they would be without rookie outfielder Marcell Ozuna for the rest of the season because of a left thumb injury. The team's leader with 24 extra-base hits, Ozuna suffered torn ligaments and an avulsion fracture while making a diving catch in Monday's game against the Rockies.

"He did a great job," manager Mike Redmond said. "He makes a game-saving catch, gets hurt, and ends up on the DL. It's really unfortunate."

Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 3.28) will hope for better support than he received in his previous start. He turned in his best performance in four outings for the Marlins, throwing seven shutout innings of five-hit ball in a 1-0 loss at Milwaukee on Sunday.

"I felt like I was locked in from the first pitch," said the right-hander, who also recorded his first career hit.

Miami's Placido Polanco is hitting .256 - his lowest mark since his rookie year of 1998 - but is 29 for 85 (.341) against left-handers.

Starling Marte is 1 for 24 through his last six contests after going hitless in three at-bats Thursday, though he walked twice.

The Marlins had won 14 of 16 in the series prior to the Pirates taking four of five last year despite being outhit, 46-33. Andrew McCutchen was 7 for 17.

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

Jeff Locke, LHP
2013 stats
115.0 Innings Pitched 24.2
9-2 Wins-Losses 0-1
2.11 Earned Run Average 3.28
51 Walks 7
79 Strikeouts 11
93 Pitches Per Start 88
Career vs. opponent
5.0 Innings Pitched -
0-1 Wins-Losses ---
5.40 Earned Run Average -

Henderson Alvarez, RHP
Weather
weather image  Widely scattered tstorms. Partly sunny. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
87°F76°F12mph/SW68%27%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Pittsburgh2nd NL Central8170.5362 ½ 8-2 W 3
Miami3rd NL East7477.490135-5 W 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Henderson Alvarez
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Martin102103.200
Barmes000000
Black000000
Burnett000000
Cole000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Jeff Locke
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Brantly000000
Cishek000000
Dobbs000000
Dunn000000
Eovaldi000000
 
Injuries
Pittsburgh
PlayerInjury
P. AlvarezFoot
J. MercerBack
Miami
PlayerInjury
J. FernandezElbow
R. FurcalLeg
K. GreggElbow
B. MorrisGroin
G. StantonFace
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 8WASWAS 5-0Gonzalez Alvarez 
Apr 9WASWAS 10-7Clippard Marmol 
Apr 10WASWAS 7-1Strasburg Koehler 
Apr 14MIAWAS 9-2Zimmermann Hand 
Apr 15MIAMIA 11-2Koehler Strasburg 
Apr 16MIAWAS 6-3Storen Dunn 
May 26WASMIA 3-2Eovaldi Roark 
May 27WASPPD   
May 28WASMIA 8-5Slowey Blevins 
Jul 28MIAMIA 7-6Dunn Soriano 
Jul 29MIAMIA 3-0Alvarez Strasburg 
Jul 30MIAWAS 4-3Roark Hand 
Sep 18MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 19MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 20MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 21MIA 1:10 PM EDT  
Sep 26WAS 1:05 PM EDT  
Sep 26WAS 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 27WAS 4:05 PM EDT  
Sep 28WAS 1:35 PM EDT