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Game Thread: Stephen Brault on the hill as Pirates try to take 3 of 4 in St. Louis

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Coming off Thursday night’s embarrassing blowout loss to the Cardinals, it seemed incomprehensible that the Pirates could take the series, but after studly performances by not only Trevor Williams but also Jordan Lyles, both resulting in 2-1 victories, the Pirates are on the verge of taking three out of four games in St. Louis.

Left-hander Stephen Brault (0-1, 7.11) will make his second start after being forced back into the rotation following injuries to both Chris Archer and Jameson Taillon. In his first start last Tuesday in Pittsburgh, the Pirates defeated Texas 5-4 as Brault allowed a pair of runs in four innings, walking three and striking out five. He was strong through the first three innings before wavering in the fourth, when he allowed both runs.

Second-year right-hander Dakota Hudson gets the nod for the home team Cardinals. In seven starts and one relief appearance this year, the 24 year old Hudson has a 4.63 ERA in 35 innings, after posting a 2.63 mark in 26 relief appearances last year. In 62 major league innings, Hudson has walked 5.2 and struck out 6.9 every nine innings, although he had strong minor league numbers, with a 2.53 ERA in 18 Double-A starts and 2.99 in 26 Triple-A starts. In his last start five days ago the Cardinals fell 11-1 to the Phillies.

As a reliever in 2017 Hudson’s fastball averaged 97.1 mph, but as a starter this year that’s dropped to 93.6, mostly on a two-seam sinker. He compliments that with a slider 25% of the time and a curve 13%

Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle mostly avoids a Sunday lineup with the only change being Kevin Newman getting a start at second base for Adam Frazier, which pushes Starling Marte to the leadoff slot and Bryan Reynolds batting second behind him.

For the Cardinals, Jedd Gyorko starts at third base in place of Matt Carpenter.

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PIRATES

1 R Starling Marte CF

2 S Bryan Reynolds LF

3 L Gregory Polanco RF

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 L Colin Moran 3B

6 R Francisco Cervelli C

7 R Kevin Newman 2B

8 S Cole Tucker SS

9 L Stephen Brault LHP

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CARDINALS

1 R Jairo Muñoz CF

2 R Paul Goldschmidt 1B

3 R Paul DeJong SS

4 R Marcell Ozuna LF

5 R Jose Martínez RF

6 R Yadier Molina C

7 R Jedd Gyorko 3B

8 L Kolten Wong 2B

9 R Dakota Hudson RHP