TribLIVE

| Sports


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Liriano pitches Pirates to win over Dodgers

Getty Images - The Pirates' Francisco Liriano pitches against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Francisco Liriano pitches against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Ike Davis runs through a line of teammates in the dugout as they celebrate his home run in the fourth inning against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Ike Davis runs through a line of teammates in the dugout as they celebrate his home run in the fourth inning against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen argues with home-plate umpire Paul Nauert after Nauert ruled that the ball fouled tipped off of McCutchen's bat for a strikeout ending the top of the third inning against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen argues with home-plate umpire Paul Nauert after Nauert ruled that the ball fouled tipped off of McCutchen's bat for a strikeout ending the top of the third inning against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
AP - The Dodgers' Yasiel Puig tosses his bat after swinging on a pitch during the fifth inning against the Pirates on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Dodgers' Yasiel Puig tosses his bat after swinging on a pitch during the fifth inning against the Pirates on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
AP - The Pirates' Starling Marte is tagged out by Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez during the third inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Pirates' Starling Marte is tagged out by Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez during the third inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Getty Images - The Pirates' Neil Walker hits an RBI single in the third inning against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Pirates' Neil Walker hits an RBI single in the third inning against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
AP - The Dodgers' Yasiel Puig heads toward the dugout after he struck out as Pirates catcher Russell Martin throws the ball to starting pitcher Francisco Liriano during the first inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Dodgers' Yasiel Puig heads toward the dugout after he struck out as Pirates catcher Russell Martin throws the ball to starting pitcher Francisco Liriano during the first inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
AP - The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen loses his balance after he was hit by the ball bounced off his bat as Dodgers catcher Drew Butera goes after the ball during the eighth inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen loses his balance after he was hit by the ball bounced off his bat as Dodgers catcher Drew Butera goes after the ball during the eighth inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
USA Today Sports - Pirates right fielder Josh Harrison (right) is tagged out on a stolen base attempt by Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez (13) in the fifth inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Pirates right fielder Josh Harrison (right) is tagged out on a stolen base attempt by Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez (13) in the fifth inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
AP - The Dodgers' Yasiel Puig (left) takes first base as Pirates first baseman Ike Davis misses the throw during the fourth inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Dodgers' Yasiel Puig (left) takes first base as Pirates first baseman Ike Davis misses the throw during the fourth inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Getty Images - The Dodgers' Chone Figgins and manager Don Mattingly argue with home-plate umpire Paul Nauert after Figgins was called out for batter interference on a sacrifice bunt attempt in the first inning against the Pirates on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Dodgers' Chone Figgins and manager Don Mattingly argue with home-plate umpire Paul Nauert after Figgins was called out for batter interference on a sacrifice bunt attempt in the first inning against the Pirates on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
USA Today Sports - Dodgers catcher Drew Butera (31) is forced out at second base by Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes (12) in the third inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Dodgers catcher Drew Butera (31) is forced out at second base by Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes (12) in the third inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
AP - The Dodgers' Dee Gordon (right) slides to steal second base as Pirates second baseman Neil Walker waits for the throw during the first inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Dodgers' Dee Gordon (right) slides to steal second base as Pirates second baseman Neil Walker waits for the throw during the first inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Getty Images - Pirates manager Clint Hurdle stands in the middle to hold back Andrew McCutchen as he argues with home-plate umpire Paul Nauert after Nauert ruled that the ball fouled tipped off of McCutchen's bat for a strikeout ending the top of the third inning against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>Pirates manager Clint Hurdle stands in the middle to hold back Andrew McCutchen as he argues with home-plate umpire Paul Nauert after Nauert ruled that the ball fouled tipped off of McCutchen's bat for a strikeout ending the top of the third inning against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
USA Today Sports - Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon (9) steals second base as Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) is unable to apply the tag in the first inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon (9) steals second base as Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) is unable to apply the tag in the first inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Getty Images - Pirates closer Jason Grilli reacts afrer getting a strikeout for the final out and the save against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>Pirates closer Jason Grilli reacts afrer getting a strikeout for the final out and the save against the Dodgers on Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Getty Images - Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez throws to first to complete a double play after forcing out the Pirates' Jose Tabata in the eighth inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez throws to first to complete a double play after forcing out the Pirates' Jose Tabata in the eighth inning Friday, May 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Pirates/MLB Videos

Saturday, May 31, 2014, 1:48 a.m.
 

LOS ANGELES — Frankie's back.

Francisco Liriano overcame 11 rotten starts and, perhaps, a smidge of self-doubt Friday and helped steer the Pirates to a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It's a great feeling,” Liriano said. “It feels like it's been a long time.”

Liriano went into the game burdened by a winless record and a 5.06 ERA. During a closed-door meeting, manager Clint Hurdle tried to prop up his beleaguered left-hander.

“I told him: ‘You're healthy. You've thrown sequences of pitches. You haven't lost velocity. These are the things that are still in play,' ” Hurdle said. “It's not like this guy is trying to stay alive in the major leagues. He's gonna have a job next year. He's gonna have a contract, and it's going to be (sizable).”

Liriano's $7 million deal with the Pirates is up after this season, but that's a concern for another day. For now, Liriano just wants to win games.

“With his makeup, the way he works and everything, I told him to just continue to push through this,” Hurdle said later. “And I believe he will.”

Liriano (1-5) went 5 23 scoreless innings. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out eight.

Liriano's defining moment came in the bottom of the fifth inning with the Pirates clinging to a 2-0 lead.

Chone Figgins hit five fouls in an 11-pitch at-bat before finally drawing a walk. With the bases loaded and two outs, Liriano faced Yasiel Puig.

Although about half of his pitches to Figgins were sliders, Liriano had relied heavily on his changeup to that point. Against Puig, who went into the game batting .410 in May, Liriano went back to the changeup.

“That's the ballgame right there,” catcher Russell Martin said. “But the thing is, he wasn't going to give in to Puig. He wasn't going to give him anything. We weren't going to challenge him with a fastball down the middle. We were going to challenge him with our pitch, what we thought he wasn't looking for.”

Puig swung through a changeup to even the count 2-2. Liriano came back with another, and Puig popped out to second baseman Neil Walker.

If Figgins had been at the plate, he might have dinked that changeup into the outfield for a single. Puig, however, wasn't searching for a single; he wanted to knock the ball to Pasadena.

Puig took a big, aggressive swing — and played right into Liriano's hands.

“The changeup was working down,” Liriano said. “I went one pitch at a time, one hitter at a time.”

Liriano joined the no-hitter club three years ago when he was with the Minnesota Twins. On Friday, he outdueled that exclusive group's newest member.

In his previous start, Dodgers righty Josh Beckett no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the Dodgers' MLB-leading 21st no-no and their 11th since the franchise moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

Hurdle said Beckett's historic outing might have given the Pirates a small edge during their pregame film study.

“We're not going to plan against him any differently than we would have, other than the fact we got to see a lot of pitches in that last game,” Hurdle said. “He threw (128) pitches. He threw 40 curveballs. We got to see his entire repertoire.”

Beckett lasted five innings against the Pirates and allowed two runs, five hits, one walk and one hit batter.

Beckett threw a 1-2-3 first inning, With one out in the second, Russell Martin lined a single into center field.

Somewhere, Johnny Vander Meer was smiling. In 1938, Vander Meer, a Cincinnati Reds left-hander, tossed no-hitters in back-to-back starts. Nobody's done it since.

In a slightly bizarre third inning, the Pirates took a 1-0 lead.

Starling Marte was hit by a pitch. Clint Barmes walked. Liriano squared around to bun but took a called strike — and catcher Drew Butera picked off Marte at second base. Liriano wound up striking out.

Josh Harrison singled. Walker stroked a single to right field, scoring Barmes and extending Walker's hitting streak to 11 games.

Andrew McCutchen struck out on a foul tip. McCutchen insisted his bat did not make contact, and manager Clint Hurdle quickly stepped in between his star center fielder and umpire Paul Nauert to defuse the situation.

In the fourth, Ike Davis mashed a 2-1 sinker for his fourth homer of the season. The 453-foot blast landed well beyond the center-field wall.

If that estimated distance is verified, Davis' homer will become the longest by the Pirates this season. According to ESPN's online hit tracker, Pedro Alvarez hit a 446-foot homer April 10 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Davis' shot is the longest at Dodger Stadium this year, easily outdistancing Yasiel Puig's 438-foot homer May 12 against the Miami Marlins.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Pirates

  1. Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
  2. Pirates notebook: Decker leaves game with calf injury
  3. Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
  4. Pirates pitchers finding success with expanded strike zone
  5. Spring training breakdown: Pirates 4, Braves 2
  6. Pirates notebook: Locke makes bid for final rotation spot, Tabata cut
  7. Starting 9: As franchise values soar, do owners hold or sell?
  8. Pirates notebook: Polanco’s power outburst a matter of timing
  9. Pirates notebook: Morton’s struggles continue during rough outing versus Astros
  10. MLB commissioner: Pirates’ success starts in the front office