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Yasiel Puig back in Dodgers lineup for Pirates opener

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers will have Yasiel Puig back in the lineup on Friday night against the Pirates in the opener of a three-game series at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Puig starts in right field, batting sixth against the Pirates, after not starting the series finale on Thursday afternoon in Philadelphia. Puig has been out of the lineup four times in the Dodgers' last five series, as manager Don Mattingly tries to work in Carl Crawford to the lineup on a semi-regular basis.

Puig, hitting .251/.324/.429 with eight home runs on the season, has reached base via hit or walk in each of his last five starts, going 6-for-20 (.300) with two home runs, two walks and seven RBI in those games.

The Dodgers lineup will have to face Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, the former UCLA Bruin who was drafted No. 1 overall by Pittsburgh in 2011.

The 24-year-old right-hander has a 2.29 ERA this season with 138 strikeouts in 137⅓ innings, and has cut his walk rate from 7.0 percent in 2014 to 5.3 percent this year.

Cole has lasted at least six innings 17 times in 21 starts this year, and has lasted at least seven innings 11 times. At 14-5 he leads the majors in wins. The last Pirates pitcher to lead the league in wins was John Smiley, whose 20 wins tied Tom Glavine in 1991.

Puig is 5-for-6 with two doubles against Cole.

Andre Ethier, starting in left field and batting cleanup, is 3-for-6 with a triple against Cole.

Clayton Kershaw is 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA in eight career starts against the Pirates, though he hasn't faced them since 2013. In his last four starts against Pittsburgh (in 2012-13), Kershaw is 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA, with 32 strikeouts and four walks in 29 innings.

Andrew McCutchen is 6-for-19 (.316) with a home run and a walk in his career against Kershaw. a Chris Stewart is 6-for-12 (.500) with a home run against Kershaw, and gets the start at catcher in the series opener.

Old friend Michael Morse, a Dodger for a day last week, starts at first base for the Pirates, batting sixth. He is 2-for-6 against Kershaw.

Fun fact