The Times West Virginian

Pirates

July 11, 2013

Pirates break loose, beat Athletics, 5-0

PITTSBURGH — Francisco Liriano doesn’t like to think about what might have been. At the moment, the present is so sweet there’s no use focusing on the past.

The veteran left-hander’s renaissance hit a new high in Pittsburgh’s 5-0 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

Liriano (9-3) scattered four hits over seven innings, striking out six and walking one to lower his ERA to a scant 2.00 as the Pirates snapped a four-game losing streak. The victory capped a remarkable first half for the former All-Star whose career hasn’t been the same since reconstructive elbow surgery six years ago. At last, it seems, at age 29 he is all the way back.

Not that he wants to talk about it.

“I don’t think about ’06 at all,” Liriano said. “I just try to learn how to pitch, how to move on.”

That includes trying to stay focused during a lengthy rain delay of nearly three hours. When Liriano finally took the mound at soggy PNC Park just before 10 p.m., he didn’t waste time. Attacking the strike zone relentlessly, Liriano kept the AL West-leading A’s off-balance all night.

“He set the tone, he dominated,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “He was just on top of his game.”

And the Pirates didn’t let it go to waste.

Pedro Alvarez went 2 for 4 and drove in two runs for Pittsburgh. Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Jose Tabata also had two hits each as the Pirates beat Oakland for the first time.

Pittsburgh came in 0-11 against the A’s since interleague play began in 1997, but broke loose against Tommy Milone (8-8). The Pirates managed just six runs total during a four-game slide that dropped them behind St. Louis in the battle for first in the NL Central but nearly matched that total on a night they went 5 for 9 with runners in scoring position, heady territory for a team that came in hitting just .226 with runners on second or third this season.

“I think we did a pretty good job of consistently pressing them and attacking them,” Alvarez said.

A little help is all baseball’s top pitching staff needs these days. Pittsburgh’s 13th shutout lowered its team ERA to 3.09, easily the best in baseball. Liriano’s performance marked the 24th time in 25 games a starter has allowed three earned runs or fewer.

“I’m just trying to learn how to go out there every fifth day and make pitches,” Liriano said.

He made enough to cool off the surging A’s. Oakland had won 10 of 13 to vault over Texas and into the lead in the AL West but Milone struggled with his command.

The left-hander was coming off a season-high 8 1-3 innings of work in a win over Kansas City last week. He didn’t make it out of the third inning as Pittsburgh’s offense showed signs of life.

Marte doubled leading off the third, and Tabata followed with an RBI double. McCutchen drove Tabata home with a single, and Alvarez followed two batters later with a single to center that scored McCutchen.

That was enough for Milone, who needed 80 pitches to get through 2 2-3 innings.

“They were doing a good job of putting the ball in play and falling,” Milone said. “And even though they weren’t hit very hard, you always give yourself a chance when you put the ball in play and that’s what they were doing.”

He was replaced by Pat Neshek, who made his first appearance since June 29.  The rust showed. Pittsburgh tacked on two more runs in the fourth to give Liriano all the cushion he would need to cap a remarkable first half for one of baseball’s best comeback stories.

“I like the way I’ve been pitching and the way we’ve all been playing,” Liriano said. “Right now, we’re in good position to make the playoffs and we want to continue playing like that in the second half and hopefully make the postseason.”

NOTES: Former Oakland first-round draft pick Sonny Gray made his major league debut in the fifth inning. The right-handed pitcher, called up from Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday, tossed two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out three. ... The Pirates begin a three-game series on Friday at home against the New York Mets. Charlie Morton (1-2, 3.38 ERA) starts for the Pirates against Jeremy Hefner (4-6, 3.39). ... Oakland ends the first half of the season at home against the Boston Red Sox. Jarrod Parker (6-6, 4.04) starts for the A’s.

 

1
Text Only
Pirates
  • Simon, Bruce lead Reds past Bucs, 5-2

    Alfredo Simon pitched into the seventh inning despite erratic control, Jay Bruce drove in a run for a fifth consecutive game and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Wednesday night.
    Simon (3-1) worked 6 2-3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four.

    April 24, 2014

  • Volquez outdueled; Pirates fall to Reds, 4-1

    Edinson Volquez spent four years watching Johnny Cueto evolve into one of the National League’s best pitchers when the two were teammates in Cincinnati from 2008-11.

    April 23, 2014

  • MLB suspends four from Pirates-Brewers brawl

    Major League Baseball has suspended four players involved in last Sunday’s brawl between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers.

    April 23, 2014

  • Davis’ slam leads Pirates over Reds, 6-5

    Ike Davis became the first player to hit grand slams for different teams in the same April, and Neil Walker had a winning run single with two outs in the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates twice overcame deficits to beat the Reds 6-5 Monday night.

    April 22, 2014

  • MAIN - Brewers Pirates Baseb_time (4).jpg Pirates fall to Brewers for sixth time in young season

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Braun homers twice, rallies Brewers over Pirates, 8-7

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 20, 2014

  • Brewers’ Lohse beats Pirates again

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 19, 2014

  • Bucs trade for Mets’ Ike Davis

    The New York Mets traded slumping first baseman Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night, parting ways with a power hitter who proved to be too inconsistent at the plate.
    Pittsburgh sent minor league right-hander Zack Thornton and a player to be named to New York for the 27-year-old Davis.

    April 19, 2014

  • 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

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads