Nipping at the heels of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central, the Pittsburgh Pirates hope they're catching the division leaders at the right time.
The top two teams in the NL open a pivotal five-game, four-day series Monday night at PNC Park.
"I think the Cardinal series has been on a lot of the fans' dockets for some time now,'' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I anticipate seeing a very faithful Pirate crowd there Monday.''
St. Louis (62-40) holds a 1 1/2-game division lead over Pittsburgh, but was held to three runs while being swept in a three-game set at Atlanta over the weekend. The Cardinals, who lead the NL with 498 runs, a .274 average and won 12 of 15 prior to facing the East-leading Braves, last dropped four in a row Aug. 28-31.
"You never want to go into a place and get swept,'' losing pitcher Shelby Miller said after Sunday's 5-2 defeat. "We were battling the whole time. I don't think we had a terrible series, we just didn't come out on top in any of the gam...