Brewers attempt to bounce back vs. Pirates behind Corbin Burnes

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Field Level Media
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Jul 31, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Corbin Burnes (39) throws a pitch during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.
Jul 31, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Corbin Burnes (39) throws a pitch during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.
Image: Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers will turn to ace right-hander Corbin Burnes as they try to stay atop the National League Central when they face the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night

Burnes (9-6, 3.44 ERA), the NL Pitcher of the Month for July, will be opposed by newly acquired Bailey Falter (0-7, 5.13), who is expected to be activated by the Pirates to make the start

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Pittsburgh evened the series at a game apiece with an 8-4 victory on Friday night, hitting four homers. Alfonso Rivas, acquired at the trade deadline in a deal that saw pitcher Rich Hill and designated hitter Ji Man Choi go to the San Diego Padres, hit a three-run homer and wound up a double short of the cycle

Milwaukee, which pounded out a 14-1 victory in the series opener, stranded 11 runners on Friday. The Brewers twice left the bases loaded twice, including in the fourth inning, when they put three on with no outs against rookie starter Quinn Priester

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"We had runners on a bunch of innings, for sure," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We just didn't capitalize, unfortunately. That's why we only scored four.

Despite the loss, Milwaukee maintained its half-game lead in the division over the Cincinnati Reds, who lost 6-3 in 10 innings against the Washington Nationals on Friday

Rivas is among a bevy of new faces for the Pirates, who dealt several veterans ahead of the deadline, including sending first baseman Carlos Santana to the Brewers

"Really good, aggressive swings since Fonsie's been here," Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Rivas. "He gets after it. Even the 3-0 swing he took in that at-bat, he was really aggressive.

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Pittsburgh's Bryan Reynolds had three hits, including a solo homer, to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Reynolds is batting .412 (14-for-34) during the streak with three homers, five RBIs and seven runs

Burnes, the 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner, went 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA in six starts during July. In his latest outing, he allowed two runs on four hits in six innings but did not get a decision when the bullpen let his 3-2 lead slip away in a 5-3 loss at Washington on Monday

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"Prior to this one, I think the stuff had been trending in the right direction, just really everything in general," Burnes said postgame. "Tonight, we lost a little bit, but you can't have your best stuff every time

"Managed to get through six and hold an aggressive lineup to two runs with three walks. So, some positives there, but I think there's still more room in the tank for better stuff.

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Burnes is 7-1 with a 3.36 ERA in 21 career games vs. Pittsburgh. He is 5-1 with a 3.50 ERA in his nine starts against the Pirates. In his lone start against the Pirates this season, Burnes allowed two runs on one hit in seven innings when the Brewers held on for an 11-8 road win on July 1

Falter was acquired by the Pirates from the Phillies on Tuesday for infielder Rodolfo Castro. He made his latest major league appearance on May 13, allowing six runs (all unearned) in 4 1/3 innings during a 6-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants. The next day, he was optioned to the minors

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Falter went 2-1 with a 4.21 ERA in 11 starts for Triple-A Lehigh

He appeared in 20 games (16 starts) last season with the Phillies, and went 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA. Falter will face the Brewers for the first time in his three-year career

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--Field Level Medi