LIRIANO “COTINUES TO BE MASTERFUL”
Pedro Alvarez hit his NL-leading 31st home run, and the Pirates, who had lost seven of nine going in, maintained a one-game lead in the NL Central over St. Louis with a 3-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Monday night.
The Padres struck out 17 times overall Monday night, giving them 59 in their past five games. They’ve lost nine of 13.
Liriano (14-5, 2.53 ERA) tied his career high with his 14th victory. Coming off a four-hit victory at St. Louis in his previous start, Liriano held San Diego to four hits in seven innings while walking two.
Liriano’s previous season high was 11 strikeouts on June 1 against Cincinnati. His career high is 15. Liriano struck out five of the first seven batters and eight of the first 11.
“I was very confident in my fastball,” he said. “I threw it in and out for strikes. Breaking balls were easy for me to throw. I got very confident in my pitches. Instead of trying to do too much, I just hit my spot and let whatever happen.”
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said it’s time people start having an appreciation of Liriano. “I’d never take it for granted and I hope nobody else does when you watch a man go out there and pitch like he does,” Hurdle said. “I hope there’s some appreciation. He continues to just be masterful.”
NL CENTRAL RACE
1. Pittsburgh Pirates (73-51)
2. St. Louis Cardinals (72-52, 1GB)
3. Cincinnati Reds (71-54, 2.5 GB)