for this game

Lowe goes for Braves in finale with Pirates

Jul 28, 2011 - 3:24 PM (Sports Network) - The last time Derek Lowe faced the Pirates, he used a win over them as a springboard to one of the better months of his career. A victory tonight over them would help the Braves starter salvage what has been a tough July.

Lowe tries to record his 11th victory in as many starts against Pittsburgh on Thursday evening as Atlanta wraps up a four-game set with the National League Central hopefuls at Turner Field.

The 38-year-old Lowe has had career-long success versus the Pirates, going 10-0 versus them with a 2.64 earned run average. He beat them on Sept. 8 of last year, the first of five victories in as many starts that month that also featured a 1.17 earned run average.

The veteran righty hasn't been able to extend that success into much of 2011. Lowe is 6-8 with a 4.49 ERA in 22 starts, splitting four starts in July while pitching to a 5.96 ERA.

Lowe has allowed four runs in each of his past three starts, all on the road while going 1-2 in that span. He took a loss last time out at Cincinnati, yielding six hits and two walks over five-plus innings of an 11-2 setback. Though he drove in both runs with a double, Atlanta has been outscored 25-3 in his past two defeats.

He'll look to secure a series victory for the Braves tonight after they have won consecutive extra-inning games following a setback in Monday's opener. Last night's 2-1 victory in 10 innings did not come close to the type of controversy that followed Tuesday's 19-inning affair, with David Ross connecting on a bases-loaded single to plate the tying run with ease.

"These guys grinded it out," Ross said. "There were a lot of sleep-deprived guys around here but they found a way to do it."

The victory came after Atlanta escaped with a 4-3 win in this series' second game when home plate umpire Jerry Meals called Julio Lugo out at home plate despite Pedro Alvarez's throw home getting there in plenty of time. Meals, who served as the third-base umpire last night, initially said that tag missed Lugo, but admitted prior to yesterday's game that he made the wrong call.

Ross heroics came on the same day that Atlanta placed All-Star catcher Brian McCann on the disabled list due to a left oblique strain. Ross, a talented backup, figures to get most of the playing time in McCann's absence.

Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla both ended with three hits to extend their respective hitting streaks. Uggla has a hit in 18 straight games and is now batting above .200 for the first time since he was also hitting .202 on May 16.

Freeman, meanwhile, has hit in a career-best 11 straight games and helped the Braves pull to within five games of the first-place Phillies in the National League East.

Garrett Jones hit a solo homer for the Pirates, who have lost five of seven and now sit 1 1/2 games behind the Brewers for first place in the NL Central.

"We battled hard. We're going to come back [Thursday] and expect to win," said starter Paul Maholm, who allowed one run and struck out eight over seven innings.

Recent history isn't on the Pirates side though. The Braves have won four of five over the Bucs so far this season and 10 of the past 14 meetings overall.

Kevin Correia looks to reverse that trend tonight, but has struggled since a three-game winning streak. He has lost twice over a three-outing winless drought and was hammered for a season-high seven runs on eight hits, two homers and three walks in 4 2/3 innings of a setback to the Cardinals on Saturday.

The 30-year-old righty is now 11-8 with a 4.38 ERA this season and tries once again to match the career-best 12 games he won with the Padres in 2009. He is also aiming to become the first Pittsburgh pitcher to win 12 games in a season since Tom Gorzelanny posted 14 victories in 2007.

Correia, who is an excellent 9-2 with a 2.85 ERA in 12 road starts this year, has split a pair of decisions versus the Braves in his career, pitching to a 4.56 ERA in eight games (four starts).

    ATLANTA: 2

    Jul 28 10:57 PM

  • Andrew McCutchen none-out, two-run Home Run (15) to left center scored Steve Pearce. Neil Walker due up.

    Pirates 5, Braves 2  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 28 10:45 PM

  • Dan Uggla infield single to short. On the play, Ronny Cedeno throwing error scored Freddie Freeman with none out. Runner on first with none out and Eric Hinske due up.

    Pirates 3, Braves 2  Bot 6, 0 OutsJul 28 9:45 PM
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    Pirates 3, Braves 2  Bot 6, 0 OutsJul 28 9:44 PM

  • Pedro Alvarez groundout to first scored Garrett Jones with two out. On the play, Andrew McCutchen advances to third. Runner on third with two outs and Lyle Overbay due up.

    Pirates 3, Braves 1  Top 5, 2 OutsJul 28 9:19 PM
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    Pirates 3, Braves 1  Top 5, 2 OutsJul 28 9:19 PM

  • Andrew McCutchen double to left scored Xavier Paul with none out. On the play, Garrett Jones advances to third. Runners on second and third with none out and Neil Walker due up.

    Pirates 2, Braves 1  Top 5, 0 OutsJul 28 9:14 PM
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    Pirates 1, Braves 1  Top 3, 2 OutsJul 28 8:00 PM

  • Kevin Correia single to left scored Lyle Overbay with one out. On the play, Michael McKenry advances to third. Runners on first and third with one out and Xavier Paul due up.

    Pirates 1, Braves 1  Top 2, 1 OutJul 28 7:42 PM

  • Eric Hinske ground-rule double to right scored Nate McLouth with two out. On the play, Freddie Freeman advances to third. Runners on second and third with two outs and David Ross due up.

    Pirates 0, Braves 1  Bot 1, 2 OutsJul 28 7:31 PM

    ATLANTA: 0
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    Jul 28 7:10 PM
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    Pirates vs. BravesMay 26 6:01 AM