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CIN@PIT: Liriano holds Reds to two runs over eight

Pittsburgh is certainly taking care of business.

While the Reds faltered at home Tuesday night, the Pirates continued their dominance of the Cubs, putting Pittsburgh in position to go for a three-game sweep Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

The Bucs remain two games behind St. Louis in the National League Central, but lead the Reds by one game for the top NL Wild Card spot.

Pittsburgh and Cincinnati convene for a season-ending three-game series beginning Friday at Great American Ball Park, while the Cardinals will host the Cubs. Although the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds already have clinched postseason berths, the division is still up for grabs.

Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano gets the ball Wednesday at Wrigley Field, where he has allowed two runs on six hits in 16 innings over two starts this season. Depending on how the next few days shake out, Liriano -- the club's most consistent pitcher this year -- could conceivably be in line to start on three days' rest on Sunday, should the division be on the line.

As of now, however, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said that isn't an option, preferring instead to have Liriano ready to start the club's first playoff game.

"I'm feeling good with how our rotation lines up," Hurdle said.

Right-hander Jake Arrieta makes his final start of the season in the Cubs' last home game of the year -- a home slate that has seen Chicago lose 50 games at the Friendly Confines for the first time in club history.

Arrieta hopes to build off his last outing, when he tossed seven innings of three-hit ball against the Brewers, as he looks forward to next year, his first full season with the Cubs. Manager Dale Sveum said Arrieta is "penciled in" as a rotation candidate for 2014.

Pirates: Confines friendly to Marte
Starling Marte's game-winning homer Monday was just another in a string of successful games for the outfielder in Chicago. Marte's 23 hits at Wrigley Field since 2012 are the most in the Majors for a visiting player in that span, during which he is hitting .354.

• Neil Walker has homered in four of his last six games, tying his career high in homers at 14. The last Pirates second baseman with more than 14 homers in a season was Warren Morris, with 15 in 1999.

• Pittsburgh has homered in seven straight games, its longest streak since July 19-25, which also was a seven-gamer.

Cubs: Going deep
Chicago's 101 home runs at Wrigley Field are the club's most at home since hitting 106 in 2008, and only the eighth time the Cubs have reached the century mark in Chicago.

• First baseman Anthony Rizzo has 63 extra-base hits, the most for a Cubs left-handed hitter since Corey Patterson totaled the same in 2004.

Worth noting
• Around 1 p.m. CT before Wednesday's game, Cubs players and coaches will throw about 1,000 autographed baseballs to attendees at Wrigley Field, while the front-office staff will deliver signed baseballs to the upper deck and back of the terrace level.

An autograph guide for illegible signatures will be available at the Cubs Authentics kiosk and Fan Services booth.

• The Pirates' 12 wins against the Cubs this season are their most since going 14-4 against Chicago in 1990.

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