Series preview: at Pirates
When (TV): 7:05 p.m. Thursday (SPSO), 7:05 p.m. Friday (FSSO), 7:05 p.m. Saturday (SPSO), 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Thursday: Braves RH Julio Teheran (0-0, 7.36 ERA) vs. LH Jeff Locke (1-1, 4.09)
Friday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (2-0, 2.50) vs. TBA
Saturday: Braves LH Paul Maholm (3-0, 0.00) vs. RH James McDonald (1-2, 5.27)
Sunday: Braves RH Kris Medlen (1-1, 1.42) vs. LH Jonathan Sanchez (0-2, 12.96)
About the Braves:
Batting: The Braves averaged 5.2 runs and nearly two home runs per game during their 10-game winning streak, which was snapped in a 1-0 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday. Evan Gattis is expected to get his second major league start at first base Thursday, something Fredi Gonzalez tried Friday in Washington so veteran Gerald Laird could catch the rookie Teheran. After homering three times in a four-game stretch, Gattis has one hit in his past 12 at-bats. Jason Heyward is 3-for-12 with two doubles and a home run in the past three games after enduring a 1-for-28 stretch.
Pitching: Teheran has given up nine earned runs in 11 innings over a pair of no-decisions in his first two starts this season, but the Braves came from behind to win both games. He is still looking for his first major league win in his seventh start. Hudson will gun for career win No. 200 on Friday. He would be the 113th pitcher in major league history to reach that plateau and the third active pitcher (Roy Halladay is at 200, Andy Pettitte at 247).
Miscellaneous: The Braves resume a stretch of playing 16 road games in an 18-game span with the first of a 10-game jaunt through Pittsburgh, Colorado and Detroit. Forecasts call for a chilly nights Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh.
About the Pirates:
Batting: Leadoff batter Starling Marte entered Wednesday night on a career-best nine-game hitting streak, while going 18-for-39 (.462). After hitting just .119 with one home run over their first six games, the Pirates hit .284 with six home runs over their next seven. Neil Walker was 8-for-18 (.444) with a home run and five RBIs in his previous four games entering Wednesday.
Pitching: Locke, a former Braves farmhand, opened the season as the Pirates’ fifth starter. He made 10 major league starts combined in 2011 and 2012 seasons, including his first major league win against the Braves on Oct. 1. He out-dueled Paul Maholm for a 2-1 win at PNC Park despite five walks, allowing only one earned run in six innings. The left-hander, whom the Braves drafted in the second round in 2006, was part of the four-player trade for Nate McLouth in 2009.
Miscellaneous: After starting the season 1-5, the Pirates won five of their next seven games before Tuesday’s rainout against the Cardinals. Former Brave Charlie Morton is in extended spring training making a comeback from “Tommy John” elbow-ligament transplant surgery, which he had last June.