Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Cole faces Garza to open up 4-game set

MLB.com

For years, Miller Park has been a house of horrors for the Pirates. From the start of the 2003 season through the club's first series there in '16, the Brewers dominated the Bucs to the tune of 82 wins and 30 losses. But over the past year, Pittsburgh has seemingly broken the longstanding curse that followed them to Milwaukee.

The Pirates won their last two series at Miller Park last season, winning six of their last seven road matchups against the Brewers. The Bucs will look to extend that streak as they begin a four-game series with the first-place Brewers on Monday night in Milwaukee.

View Full Game Coverage

For years, Miller Park has been a house of horrors for the Pirates. From the start of the 2003 season through the club's first series there in '16, the Brewers dominated the Bucs to the tune of 82 wins and 30 losses. But over the past year, Pittsburgh has seemingly broken the longstanding curse that followed them to Milwaukee.

The Pirates won their last two series at Miller Park last season, winning six of their last seven road matchups against the Brewers. The Bucs will look to extend that streak as they begin a four-game series with the first-place Brewers on Monday night in Milwaukee.

View Full Game Coverage

Right-hander Gerrit Cole, who may have snapped out of his own slump with seven strong innings against the Rockies on Tuesday, will start the opener for the Pirates. Cole will face right-hander Matt Garza, making his second start since coming off the disabled list for what officially was listed as a bruised chest but in reality was symptoms equal to whiplash from a collision near first base with 6-foor-3, 250-pound Jesus Aguilar. In his 87-pitch return to the rotation last week in St. Louis, Garza was solid outside of a four-hit Cardinals flurry in the second inning and faced the minimum over his final three innings.

"It shouldn't have been as close as it was," Garza said. "The second inning kind of got me. In the middle of it I was just telling myself, 'Slow down, catch your breath, keep going. Keep attacking.'"

Three things to know about this game
• Miller Park has been particularly unkind to Cole, who owns a 5.74 ERA and 0-2 record in three starts there. Cole has not pitched there since 2015, however, and he seemed to be rounding back into form against the Rockies. Cole's four-seam fastball averaged 96.7 mph on Tuesday, according to Statcast data.

• The Pirates won't have to deal with outfielder Ryan Braun, whose .903 OPS against the Bucs is his second-best mark against the Brewers' four National League Central opponents (behind only the Cubs). Braun remains on the disabled list with a left calf strain.

• Pittsburgh may have to make a tough decision before Monday's opener. The Pirates are carrying three catchers -- veterans Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart and hot-hitting rookie Elias Diaz. In the interest of employing a flexible bench, manager Clint Hurdle has stated his opposition to the idea of keeping three catchers for the long haul.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.