The Times West Virginian

Pirates

May 23, 2013

Liriano dominates as Pirates edge Cubs, 1-0

PITTSBURGH — Francisco Liriano continued his torrid start, scattering two hits over seven innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates edged the Chicago Cubs 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Liriano (3-0) struck out nine and walked just one to remain unbeaten since making his season debut against the New York Mets two weeks ago. Mark Melancon survived a bumpy ninth inning for his first save of the season.

Andrew McCutchen doubled twice for the Pirates and scored the game’s only run on an RBI single by Garrett Jones in the first. Pittsburgh has won 10 of 12 to move 10 games over .500 (28-18).

Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija (2-6) nearly matched Liriano pitch for pitch, giving up just three hits in seven innings, but received no help. The Cubs have dropped four of five.

The Pirates agreed to terms with the former All-Star in December, but Liriano signed a more incentive-laden deal after breaking his right (non-throwing) arm in a freak accident on Christmas Day.

It’s certainly looking like a bargain now. The left-hander has spent most of the five seasons attempting to regain the form he showed as a 22-year-old phenom with the Minnesota Twins in 2006, when he went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and made the All-Star team on his way to finishing third in American League Rookie of the Year voting.

His path to stardom was sidetracked by Tommy John surgery in 2007, though he appears to have found a home in Pittsburgh.

Mixing his offspeed stuff with a rejuvenated fastball refined by a tweak to his delivery, Liriano has joined A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez in giving the Pirates a respectable top of the rotation.

He was solid in his first two starts in wins over the Mets and Milwaukee. He was spectacular at times against the Cubs. He retired 14 of 15 batters at one point and managed to expertly wiggle out of the lone spot of trouble in the third when the Cubs loaded the bases with no outs following a Cody Ransom single, a walk and an error.

In a way, Liriano had the Cubs right where he wanted them.

Chicago began the night hitting just .218 with runners in scoring position, the second-lowest in the majors. The number dropped a bit more after Julio Borbon hit into a fielders’ choice, Starlin Castro struck out and Anthony Rizzo flew out to right to end the threat.

No Cub made it to third base over Liriano’s final four innings and Pittsburgh’s bullpen made it hold up even with closer Jason Grilli given the night off after laboring through a 34-pitch save on Tuesday.

The Pirates improved to 26-0 when leading after eight innings while Samardzija’s tough luck continued.

The right-hander has been lights out against the Pirates during his career. He came in 4-0 against them, including a dazzling eight innings of work in a 3-1 Chicago win on opening day.

Samardzija might have been even better this time around. His only miscue came in the first when McCutchen doubled with two outs and Jones followed with a single to right.

It turned out to be all the cushion Liriano would need. Tony Watson worked the eighth and Melancon — typically the setup man — came in for the ninth looking for his first save since Aug. 26, 2012, while playing for the Boston Red Sox.

The Cubs made him work for it. Soriano reached on strikeout-wild pitch and Wellington Castillo singled with one out. Nate Schierholtz and Darwin Barney both lofted weak fly balls to shallow right field that Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker corralled with ease.

NOTES: Chicago’s Darwin Barney, who went 4 for 4 in the series opener on Tuesday to raise his average from .192 to .223, went 0 for 3 ... Pittsburgh’s left-handed starters are 8-1 at PNC Park this season ... The series wraps up on Thursday. Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.78 ERA) will make his first start against the Cubs. Edwin Jackson (1-6 5.76) starts for Chicago. Jackson is 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA against the Pirates in his career.

1
Text Only
Pirates
  • McCutchen, Alvarez lead Pirates over Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pirates shut out by Reds’ Cueto, 4-0

    Johnny Cueto was on his game, and the only thing that the Pirates could do was watch.
    Cueto pitched his third career shutout against the team that beat him in the NL wild card game, and Joey Votto hit a two-run homer that led the Cincinnati Reds over the Pirates 4-0 Wednesday for their first winning series this season.

    April 17, 2014

  • Pirates finish off suspended game, fall in nightcap

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole’s winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.

    April 16, 2014

  • Sanchez throws away easy out, Bucs lose to Brewers

    Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez has practiced the play many times. Scoop a pitch in the dirt on a strikeout, make the throw to first base for an easy out.

    April 14, 2014

  • Brewers edge Pirates for 8th straight win

    Carlos Gomez hit a leadoff homer, Jonathan Lucroy drove in the tiebreaking run with an eighth-inning single and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 Saturday night for their eighth consecutive victory.
    Gomez got Milwaukee started with a 432-foot drive to center field off Edinson Volquez, and Khris Davis scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0 in the second.

    April 13, 2014

  • Brewers win 7th straight, beat Pirates, 4-2

    Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run homer that backed Wily Peralta, and the Milwaukee Brewers extended their winning streak to seven with a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
    Francisco Liriano befuddled the Brewers with his slider over the first three innings before Ramirez sent a 1-2 fastball over the left-field wall for a 2-0 lead.

    April 12, 2014

  • Alvarez, Pirates hold off Cubs

    Pedro Alvarez stepped to the plate ready to strike in a big spot.
    Once again, he delivered.
    Alvarez hit a three-run homer to cap a five-run seventh inning and Jason Grilli retired Emilio Bonifacio on a bases-loaded grounder to end the game, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

    April 11, 2014

  • Cubs survive five Pirate homers

    Jason Hammel threw seven strong innings, Anthony Rizzo had four hits, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Wednesday night despite allowing five solo home runs.
    Signed to a one-year, $6 million contract over the offseason, Hammel (2-0) won his Cubs debut when he beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

    April 10, 2014

  • MAIN Cardinals Pirates Bas_time (2).jpg Pirates slip past Cardinals for 2-1 victory

    For his first start with the Pirates, Edinson Volquez beat Adam Wainwright. That’ll do nicely as an early return on that offseason contract he signed with the Pirates.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates’ Taillon set for Tommy John surgery

    Right-hander Jameson Taillon, considered the Pittsburgh Pirates’ top pitching prospect, will have Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire season and likely part of 2015.

    April 7, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads