(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
PNC Park – Francisco Liriano pitched another gem Saturday night as he threw 7 innings of shutout ball to halt the Pirates 2-game losing skid with a 5 – 2 win over the Rockies.
The Rockies threatened early against Liriano as they had second and third in the first with one out. Francisco would then get Michael Cuddyer to strikeout and Will Rosario to groundout to end the threat.
They would have two more on in the third thanks to two one out walks, but like the first inning, Liriano was able to settle down and get a groundout and fly out to end the threat. From there, he would allow only one hit over the next four innings before handing the ball over to the Shark Tank in the eighth. “The first and third innings were the challenges and he pitched through those like a pro,” said manager, Clint Hurdle. “Again, seven strong, eleven hitters in three pitches or less so there was quick contact. He changed speeds well and again, his big put a foot down innings were the first and third.”
The Pirates got plenty of offense in this one as they scored single runs in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th innings, thanks to the top three batters in the order. Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen combined to go 5 – 10 (.500) with a double, 2 walks, 3 stolen bases, 3 runs and an RBI. Jose Tabata would be the other contributor as he hit his first homer since May 11th in the 4th inning and hit a triple in the sixth and scored on a Josh Harrison suicide squeeze.
“When I got the sign, I was like ‘I gotta get the ball down’,” said Harrison. “It’s one of those things where you only get one shot at it because once you try it once, the other team is aware and it would have been the first pitch. Tabby did a good job of not leaving too early and as soon as I saw him break, the pitcher was already on his way and I was able to put it down and it wasn’t a chance.”
Tabata finished the night a double short of the cycle.
Colorado would try to make it interesting in the eighth as they would score twice against Bryan Morris. Tony Watson would then come in and induce a double play with runners on first and second to end the inning and any chance of a Rockies comeback.
Mark Melancon would work a perfect ninth to get his sixth save of the season.
“Everything has been going the way I want them to, it’s been so far so good for me and not just for me, but for the team too,” said Liriano. “Hopefully we can continue playing the way we play right now and hopefully things go the way we want them to.”
Final Score: Pirates 5, Rockies 2
Liriano (W, 12 – 4): 7 IN, 2 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 6 K’s. 102 Pitches (63 Strikes)
De La Rosa (L, 10 – 6): 4+ IN, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K’s, 1 HP, 1 WP, 1 HR. 91 Pitches (59 Strikes)
These two will be back at it tomorrow afternoon at 1:35 in the rubber match of this 3-game series.
(RHP) A.J. Burnett (PIT): 4 – 7, 2.86 ERA
(RHP) Juan Nicasio (COL): 6 – 5, 4.92 ERA
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