The Pittsburgh Pirates have thrived against NL West teams the past two seasons and have proved one of the most challenging opponents for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Francisco Liriano will try to lead the Pirates to another win over the Dodgers on Saturday and their 14th in 17 home games.
Pittsburgh (63-44) is 32-14 against the West, including 12-2 this season following a 6-5 win in 10 innings Friday in its first meeting with Los Angeles in 2015. The Pirates scored four runs off Clayton Kershaw while ending his scoreless streak at 37 innings, and Pedro Alvarez's bases-loaded single pushed them to 6-2 versus the Dodgers since the beginning of 2014.
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Los Angeles (62-47) lost for the second time in eight games and dropped to 23-30 against NL Central teams in the past two seasons, compared with a 79-46 record against division rivals and a 35-26 mark versus the NL East.
Liriano (7-6, 2.92 ERA) is out to bolster his team's postseason chances during a challenging stretch of its schedule. Pittsburgh has a five-game lead for the league's first wild-card spot but Friday started a nine-game run against the NL's three division leaders.
Liriano is 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his last five starts but wasn't at his sharpest in his latest official outing, a 10-4 win in Minnesota on July 29. The left-hander gave up a season-high 10 hits and three runs in 5 2-3 innings, but didn't walk any batters after giving up a combined seven free passes in his previous two games.
He pitched two innings Monday against the Chicago Cubs before the first of two rain delays that totaled nearly 3 1/2 hours and washed out that game.
That leaves Liriano to seek his third win in as many starts while facing a team he's thrived against. He's 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in as many starts versus the Dodgers and went 2-0 with a 0.71 ERA last season.
Liriano is also 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in his last five home starts but might have to outduel Mat Latos (4-7, 4.29) in this one. The right-hander, acquired from Miami on July 30, gave up one run in six innings in his Dodgers debut Sunday, a 5-3 win against the Angels.
Latos has a 2.79 ERA in his eight starts since returning from a left knee injury June 13, and a 1.73 mark in his four since the beginning of July.
"(My health is) ten times better," Latos told MLB's official website. "It's hard to explain. Imagine having a lot of fluid in your knee, a lot of pain. That's my landing foot so I'm putting all my weight on that knee. It's allowed me to clear that front side and drive the ball down."
Latos didn't fare well in his only matchup with Pittsburgh last year, giving up four runs in five innings in a 6-5 win for Cincinnati on July 11.
Latos is 5-1 with a 3.13 ERA in 12 career starts against the Pirates. He's 3-0 with a 2.87 ERA in his six in Pittsburgh but hasn't pitched there since Sept. 20, 2013.