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MIL@TEX: Thornburg allows one earned run over six

After a series victory against the Cardinals over the weekend, the Pirates head to Milwaukee to face the Brewers on Monday in the opener of a three-game series.

It's the start of a nine-game road trip for the Pirates, who will also visit St. Louis and Arlington. It will be a pivotal road trip as they enter Monday tied atop the National League Central with the Cards.

The Pirates will hand the ball to right-hander Charlie Morton, who has been a rock since returning from Tommy John surgery.

He's been charged with three earned runs or fewer in 12 of his 14 starts and has gone 5-1 in his last eight starts, while averaging seven innings and a 1.83 ERA over his last five.

In Morton's previous outing against the Brewers, he allowed one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings for his second straight win.

"I have days when it's not all there, but I feel pretty comfortable," Morton said after the start. "I think I'm throwing the ball well. Just trying to do my job the best I can."

For the Brewers, right-hander Tyler Thornburg gets the nod. It will mark his first start since Aug. 14 against the Rangers and his fourth start this season.

Milwaukee decided to move Tom Gorzelanny out of the rotation and back to the bullpen to get a better look at Thornburg with a month left in the season.

Thornburg has allowed just one earned run in 18 innings over his first three starts. He's also 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in 11 relief appearances.

"I try to tell people, relieving and starting are two such different things," Thornburg said. "They're both pitching, but they're completely different mindsets, different ways of pitching. You try to take it as a learning experience."

Pirates: Hurdle shifts lineup
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle penciled in a considerably different lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Cardinals.

Only Nos. 3-4, Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez, were in familiar spots. They were hitting behind leadoff man Neil Walker and Garrett Jones in the two-hole, and followed in sequence by newcomers Marlon Byrd, Justin Morneau and John Buck.

It marked Walker's first career start in the leadoff spot and something that got him quite excited.

"It will give me a chance to see more pitches," said Walker, who went 1-for-4 with a single in the first. "But I'll still be as aggressive. I've been seeing the ball real good."

Brewers: Hand rejoins team
Milwaukee recalled right-hander Donovan Hand from Triple-A Nashville on Sunday, marking the first of the team's September callups.

Hand, who spent close to three months with the Brewers from late May to mid-August, has gone back and forth from Nashville to Milwaukee several times in the last two weeks. Tossing 1 1/3 innings Sunday against the Angels, he didn't allow a hit and struck out one.

"It's been different, but it's something you've got to do," Hand said. "That's part of the deal. I'm back, and that's all you can ask for. Like I said at the beginning when I got here, I'll take it one day at a time. Whether it's here or Nashville, whatever. It's still playing the game I love, and I'm back and we'll see what happens the last month."

Worth noting
• When leading after seven innings, the Pirates are 61-3.

• When scoring first this season, the Brewers are 42-19. Comments