MLB Game Preview: St Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates - Date: 8/20/2017 Pirates, Cardinals to play series finale in Williamsport, Pa. 1h ago• 3 min read WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Now for something different.There's still a good, old-fashioned story line to the finale of the four-game series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, teams trying to chase down the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central.Pittsburgh (59-64) lost the first two games despite strong comebacks, then held on for a 6-4 win over the Cardinals (63-60) Saturday at PNC Park.Sunday morning, however, the teams are scheduled to travel about 200 miles to Williamsport, Pa.The teams will play in the MLB Little League Classic at night after spending some time during the day taking part in activities celebrating youth baseball, including a meet-and-greet with players from the ongoing Little League World Series.It might be a thrill not just for the youth players, but for the pros who participated in Little League growing up."That's when it wasn't a job," St. Louis' Randal Grichuk, who played in the LLWS in 2003 and '04 with the Lamar National League team from Richmond, Texas, told MLB.com."It was all about winning and having fun and going out to dinner after the game. A lot of the parents are involved. It formed a love of the game for me. It formed a passion. I love playing." Pittsburgh's John Jaso has slightly different memories -- though still fond -- of playing Little League in California."It wasn't too big on winning or losing, performance out there," Jaso told MLB.com. "It was just a lot of fun -- almost like playing for that snow cone at the end of the game."I'm excited about going to Williamsport, for sure. Just being around all those kids and allowing those kids to be around us is going to be cool for both sides. It's a cool opportunity for all of us to take advantage of this opportunity to let the kids get close and let them see what big league life is kind of about -- and for us to remember what being a kid and playing this sport is all about, too." The teams went with a slightly modified lineup Saturday -- St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina and Pittsburgh third baseman David Freese and shortstop Jordy Mercer didn't start. Sports Handicappers. That's an indication that the clubs plan on going with a regular lineup in Williamsport rather than what is typically seen on Sunday games.Right-hander Mike Leake (7-11, 3.88 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale for the Cardinals.Leake is 10-5 with a 3.33 ERA in 31 career starts against the Pirates. Free MMA Picks. That is more wins than he has against any other club.Right-hander Ivan Nova (10-10, 3.77 ERA) starts for the Pirates.Nova has lost his past four decisions since back-to-back wins last month.In has most recent outing, Tuesday at Milwaukee, he took a loss in a 3-1 game when he allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings.The Pirates sent Nova ahead to Williamsport on Saturday as a precaution, while Leake remained with the Cardinals."The key is to keep the guys fresh," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said of the decision with Nova. "If we played longer (Saturday) night, there could have been some different challenges." Nova, who has spent much of his career in the American League, is 0-1 with 2.25 ERA in his only career start against St. Louis, when he threw a 78-pitch complete game but still took the loss in the Cardinals' 2-1 win April 17 at Busch Stadium.
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