MORNING PIRATES BUZZ Francisco Liriano (11-4, 2.16 ERA) pitched seven dominant innings and Pedro Alvarez belted his NL-leading 27th home run of the season as the Pittsburgh Pirates (62-42) beat the St. Louis Cardinals (62-41) 9-2 on Monday night to pull within a half game of the Cardinals for the NL Central lead. It was a big night for the Pirates as they also moved 4.5 games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds (59-48) for the top wildcard spot. Liriano allowed 1 run over seven innings, striking out 8 and walking 2 to improve to 11-4 on the season. Liriano has now won six of his last seven starts and is 6-1 at home with a 1.61 ERA on the season. “He continues to pitch well,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He continues to be very aggressive. Change up and slider continue to come into play,” Hurdle said. Liriano was lights outRead More »
LATEST PIRATES TRADE CHATTER Outfielder Hunter Pence is a player Pirates GM Neal Huntington has tried to acquired for a few years now and would like the chance again. Jon Heyman of CBSSports reports the Pirates have interest in Pence but at this point Pence is not available, per Heyman. The defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants have had an up and down season but are just 5 1/2 games out of the NL West division lead. As long as they remain in contention, Pence is unlikely to be moved. Pence, 30, is hitting .265 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs this season. The Pirates were involved in trade talks for Pence last year when he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, but the Pirates smartly balked at giving up Starling Marte.