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Pirates, Brewers begin three-game set

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

For the second consecutive weekend, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a chance to play the spoiler role in the National League wild-card race as they take on the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in a three-game set that gets underway at 7:10 p.m.

They’re hoping it works out better this time around.

The Brewers enter play Friday clinging to a one-game lead over their NL Central rivals, the Chicago Cubs, for the second wild-card spot with nine games remaining.

Milwaukee, meanwhile, trails Washington by just a game for the first wild-card spot.

Last weekend, the Pirates had a shot to throw a monkey wrench into the Cubs’ postseason hopes, but instead Chicago responded by outscoring Pittsburgh 47-15 in sweeping the Bucs in three games, 17-8, 14-1 and 16-6.

It hasn’t gotten much better for the Pirates since then, as they dropped three straight to the lowly Seattle Mariners at PNC Park earlier this week and also lost their most valuable on-the-field asset when closer Felipe Vazquez was arrested on multiple felony charges.

The only consolation in the sweep at the hands of the Mariners is that the losses enabled the Pirates to improve their draft standing, moving ahead of the Mariners into the No. 6 slot.

Steven Brault will take a 4-5 mark and a 4.98 ERA to the mound for Pittsburgh. Chase Anderson, 6-4 with a 4.50 ERA, will start for the Brew Crew.

Brault enjoyed a stretch of solid starts but in his last seven outings, the left-hander has gone 1-4 with a 6.57 ERA. In 37 innings, Brault has been touched for 41 hits and 13 walks while striking out 25.

PIRATES

1 R Kevin Newman SS

2 S Bryan Reynolds CF

3 L Colin Moran 1B

4 R Jose Osuna RF

5 L Adam Frazier 2B

6 R Pablo Reyes LF

7 R Jacob Stallings C

8 R Erik Gonzalez 3B

9 L Steven Brault P

BREWERS

1 R Lorenzo Cain CF

2 S Yasmani Grandal 1B

3 L Mike Moustakas 3B

4 R Ryan Braun LF

5 R Keston Hiura 2B

6 R Hernan Perez RF

7 R Manny Pina C

8 R Orlando Arcia SS

9 R Chase Anderson P