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Breaking down Friday's Pirates-Cardinals game

| Thursday, April 3, 2014, 4:09 p.m.

X-factors

Pirates beat reporterRob Biertempfel's inside look at Friday's game:

• Gerrit Cole has never faced the Cardinals in a regular-season game, but he did make two starts against them last year in the NL Division Series. In the playoffs, he went 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.636 WHIP. Both of those games were played at Busch Stadium.

• Neil Walker (5 for 9, 3 2Bs), Russell Martin (3 for 7, 2 HRs), Jose Tabata (3 for 5, 1 HR), Andrew McCutchen (3 for 9) and Starling Marte (3 for 10, 1 2B, 1 3B) have had some success against Shelby Miller. However, Pedro Alvarez, Clint Barmes, Jordy Mercer, Gaby Sanchez and Travis Snider are a combined 2 for 23 against him.

The Buzz

The Pirates will take on the Cardinals six times this month, an even home-road split, then again for three games at PNC Park on May 9-11. They won't see the defending NL champions again until the second week of July, when the Pirates play a four-game set at Busch Stadium.

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