Pirates try to get untracked with Brewers in town

(SportsNetwork.com) – The Pittsburgh Pirates hope to get on track when they
resume a 10-game homestand Friday with the first of three straight games
versus the NL Central-rival Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park.

The Pirates took two of three games from the Brewers at Miller Park last week.

Pittsburgh opened this residency with two losses in three tries against the
Detroit Tigers and dropped a 1-0 decision in Wednesday’s series finale. Rajai
Davis belted a solo homer in the top of the sixth inning off of Pirates
starter Francisco Liriano to provide the scoring.

Liriano was cruising until that costly pitch and suffered the loss, lasting
six innings and giving up four hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. He
didn’t get much support from the offense, as Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker
each had a hit.

“You just keep working and keep playing,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of
his team’s offensive slump. “Guys have to take it upon themselves to have the
best at-bat while their up there to put the guy behind them in a better spot
than they’re in.”

The Pirates are 3-6 on the season and will turn to Jeff Locke Friday night on
the mound. Locke made his season debut in last Friday’s 6-2 win over the
Brewers and held them to two runs in six innings.

Locke has made eight career starts against Milwaukee and the left-hander has a
3-2 record to go along with a 3.86 ERA.

Pittsburgh will play the Chicago Cubs four times on this homestand.

The Brewers are just 2-7 on the season and lost two of three games in St.
Louis to open a six-game trek. In Thursday’s 4-0 setback to the rival
Cardinals, Mike Fiers pitched well in defeat and fell to 0-2.

Fiers was reached for a pair of runs in 5 2/3 innings and allowed seven hits
with four strikeouts and one walk. The bullpen gave up two more runs.

Milwaukee had six hits and left men on first and second in the third, fourth
and fifth.

“These guys we’re putting in this lineup, they’re offensive players,” Brewers
manager Ron Roenicke said. “We need them to swing the way we know they can.”

Roenicke may not have center fielder Carlos Gomez for some time because of a
“small defect” in his right hamstring. The damage was revealed during and
examination and Gomez is expected to land on the disabled list. Gomez suffered
the issue Wednesday night and was in discomfort on Thursday.

“The next day is always the worst,” Gomez said. “I would love if they gave it
a look and said, ‘It’s not as bad as the way you feel.'”

Jimmy Nelson will try to lift Milwaukee’s spirits when he toes the rubber
Friday. Nelson made his season debut in Saturday’s 6-0 win over the Buccos and
delivered seven shutout innings of two-hit ball. He fanned nine and walked two
batters in his first appearance against Pittsburgh.

The right-hander went 1-3 in five road games (4 starts) last season.

Milwaukee was 12-7 versus the Pirates last season, despite being outscored by
the Bucs, 81-66.