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Brewers, Pirates play two at PNC Park

Zack Greinke tries to win his sixth straight start for the night doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Greinke, like the rest of the Brewers, has been unbeatable of late, going 5-0 in his last five starts, while allowing two earned runs or less in his past eight outings. The former Cy Young Award winner was brilliant in beating the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, as he held them to a run and five hits in seven innings to improve to 12-4 to go along with a 3.92 ERA.

"It wasn't a great outing, but I made big pitches when they needed to be made," Greinke said. "That kind of made it look better than I really pitched."

Greinke beat the Pirates two starts ago and is 3-0 against them with a 4.26 ERA in three starts.

Before Greinke pitches, though, Chris Narveson will return from the disabled list and toe the rubber in game one. The left-hander is 8-6 with a 4.49 ERA, but had missed his last two starts after accidentally slicing his left thumb while fixing his baseball glove.

"If you look at it, it's basically two weeks, it's almost like a breather for a starter to refresh his arm," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "We may not get him over 100 [pitches], but he's still going to be strong to go deep into the game. I was concerned how his command was going to be, because I didn't know if that was going to be an issue or not. His command was really good [in the bullpen session]. That doesn't mean it's necessarily going to be good [on Monday], but you feel good that the ball is coming off his fingers good."

The Brewers continued what has been an amazing roll over the weekend, as they swept the New York Mets in a three-game set. The National League Central leaders have now won 22 of their last 25 games overall and hold an 8 1/2-game edge on the St. Louis Cardinals in the division.

There's no reason to think that remarkable run won't continue tonight since the Brewers have beaten the Pirates all eight times the teams have met this season and are 44-11 against them since the start of 2008.

Hoping to buck that trend today the Pirates will send righty Jeff Karstens to the hill in game one. Karstens did not get a decision on Tuesday against St. Louis, as he allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He is 9-6 on the year with a 3.12 ERA.

Karstens lost to the Brewers the last time he faced them and is a miserable 0-4 lifetime against the club with a 4.03 ERA in 10 games (seven starts).

The Pirates will rely on righty Brad Lincoln, who will be making his second start of the season. Lincoln, the fourth overall pick by the Bucs in 2006, has appeared in five games this season and has pitched to a 5.40 ERA.

He has started two games in his career against Milwaukee, but has pitched to a 10.80 ERA in those contests without recording a decision.

It's hard to believe that not to long ago the Pirates were the ones sitting atop the NL Central. But, they head into tonight's matchup trailing the Brewers by a whopping 15 1/2 games after dropping two of three over the weekend to the Cincinnati Reds.

On Sunday the Bucs were denied a series win when All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan gave up two runs in the ninth in a 5-4 loss.

Jose Tabata, who signed a six-year contract extension before the game, scored twice for the Pirates, both times on two-run homers by Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones.

The Pirates are currently in a stretch that will see them play 14 games over a 13-day period. They are also in the midst of playing 20 straight games within their division.