The Pittsburgh Pirates picked up their second straight victory, a 5-4 win over the Rangers Tuesday night and Francisco Liriano (16-7, 2.92 ERA)) struck out five while allowing one run to become the first Pirates left-hander since John Smiley and Zane Smith in 1991 to win more than 15 games. Liriano has received a decision in each of his 23 starts since signing as a free agent in February, the most for the Pirates since Larry French got a decision in each of his first 24 starts in 1930. “Not his finest outing. A blue-collar effort,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “I think a runner reached base every inning on in. … All we did, we battled tonight, we battled off the mound, we battled at the plate.”
Francisco Liriano (15-6, 2.57 ERA) continues to play the role of an “Ace”. Liriano and the Pirates moved into a tie for first place, pitching a 5-0 shutout win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Liriano shined, throwing 8 scoreless innings, allowing allowing just 2 hits, while striking out 6 and walking 2 in the win. Liriano improved to 15-6 on the season and an impressive 8-1 at home. Liriano tied for the National League lead in wins, has allowed 1 earned run or less in three of his last four starts.
NEED FOR A CONSISTENT NO. 3 PITCHER TO EMERGE James McDonald pitched six strong innings and Gaby Sanchez delivered a two-run homer to break a 1-1 tie, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates (9-8) to an impressive 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves (13-4) on Saturday night. McDonald shined allowing 2 hits and 1 run, while striking out 9 and showed a strong battle level getting out of a tough second inning where he normally falters (since 2012 all-star break) in those type of situations. “The second was a big test for him, one he hasn’t passed often,” Hurdle said Saturday night of McDonald. McDonald’s velocity was back in the 92 mph range, a positive sign after struggling to hit 90 in his previous start, which raised several concerns. The flashes McDonald showed Saturday night vs the Braves is why he will remain in the starting rotation and Jonathan Sanchez and JeffRead More »