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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, May 26th (All times Eastern)

Chicago Cubs (15-30) at Pittsburgh Pirates (21-24), 7:15 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Paul Maholm (4-3, 4.73) Pittsburgh - Kevin Correia (1-5, 4.50)

(Sports Network) - A first-round draft choice by the Pirates in 2003, Paul Maholm became a fixture in Pittsburgh's rotation. Tonight, he'll face his former team for the first time when the Chicago Cubs try to break a 10-game skid by playing the middle contest of a three-game series at PNC Park.

Maholm compiled a 53-73 with a 4.36 ERA in 185 career major league starts with the Pirates from 2005-11 before he was signed this past offseason as a free agent to a one-year, $4.75 million contract by the Cubs.

After winning four straight starts, Maholm has fallen on hard times recently, going 0-1 over a two-game stretch. That includes a 6-0 loss to the White Sox on Sunday, when he allowed nine hits, including a trio of homers, and five runs over 6 1/3 innings.

Run support has been a problem all season for Kevin Correia. The veteran right-hander will try to snap a five-start losing streak tonight.

Correia hasn't broken into the win column since his lone victory of the season, April 15 in San Francisco. He has not received more than two runs of support in any of his first eight starts and is winless in his last six appearances overall. He's 3-4 with a 6.28 ERA in 12 games (8 starts) when facing the Cubs.

Last night, A.J. Burnett worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings and the Pittsburgh bullpen took care of the rest as the Pirates slipped past the Cubs, 1-0. It's longest streak of futility for the Cubs since they lost the first 14 games of the 1997 season.

Burnett (3-2) scattered six hits and walked two while striking out six to earn the victory in the opener of this three-game set.

Jared Hughes, Jason Grilli, Juan Cruz and Joel Hanrahan combined to complete the shutout for the Pirates, who had lost three of their last four coming in.

"The guys are going out there and doing the best they can. Our job (as pitchers) is go out there and throw up more zeros," Burnett said. "So when we do strike, whether it's one or two runs, we'll be alright."

Rod Barajas finished 2-for-4 and knocked in the only run of the game.

Ryan Dempster (0-3) pitched well in defeat, allowing just the one run on seven hits and one walk over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six in the loss, which extended his personal winless streak to 17 games.

Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Joe Mather all had two hits for the Cubs, who did manage 10 hits overall, but failed to produce in the clutch by going 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen has reached base safely in 32 straight games against the Cubs and in 38 of his 41 career games against Chicago...

The Cubs and Pirates are meeting for the first time since splitting 16 meetings last year. Chicago went 5-2 in Pittsburgh in that span.

05/26 10:27:53 ET