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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, June 7th (All times Eastern)

Pittsburgh Pirates (28-27) at Cincinnati Reds (31-24), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Kevin Correia (2-5, 4.19) Cincinnati - Mike Leake (2-5, 4.95)

(Sports Network) - Third-year right-hander Mike Leake aims for a third straight victory and a series win when the Cincinnati Reds host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds, who entered the series with a three-game lead over the Pirates in the National League's Central Division before a loss in Tuesday's opener, got the bulge back to three with a 5-4 win on Wednesday.

Starter Johnny Cueto (6-3) allowed three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out six to earn the victory. Sean Marshall got the final out in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman blew away the Bucs in the ninth to record his sixth save of the season.

Brandon Phillips went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, Ryan Ludwick ripped a three-run double and Ryan Hanigan added an RBI single for the Reds, who snapped a brief two-game skid.

Andrew McCutchen belted a three-run homer and Neil Walker chipped in with an RBI base hit for the Pirates, who had a two-game winning streak stopped.

Brad Lincoln (3-1) allowed five runs on six hits and two walks to go with five strikeouts to take the loss.

Leake, a 24-year-old Californian, opened the season with losses in his first five decisions before finally breaking out with a 4-1 defeat of Atlanta on May 21 in Cincinnati.

He got a no-decision against Colorado a start later, but made it two straight winning decisions with a 4-1 defeat of the Houston Astros on June 1 after allowing a run on four hits in seven innings.

In the two victories, he's given up two runs on seven hits in 15 innings. In his other eight starts, he's surrendered 56 hits and 34 runs in 41 1/3 innings.

Pittsburgh beat him, 3-2, on May 5, dropping Leake's career mark against them to 1-3 in seven starts.

Veteran righty Kevin Correia meets the Reds for the 17th time in his career and makes his 12th start against them.

The 31-year-old, also a California native, was beaten, 6-1, by Cincinnati on May 4, dropping his stellar career mark against the Reds to 7-2.

The loss was part of a five-start skid after Correia had opened 2012 with a win at San Francisco.

He bounced back for win No. 2 in his most recent outing after allowing two runs on five hits in an 8-2 victory at Milwaukee on June 1.

The Pirates have split eight matchups with the Reds this season.

06/07 10:33:49 ET