Liriano, Pirates put a halt on losing streak, shut down Cardinals
ST. LOUIS — Francisco Liriano said he was just trying to hit his spots and not do too much.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had a bit stronger description of what the left-hander did in a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Wednesday.
“That was masterful, from start to finish,” Hurdle said.
Liriano (13-5) pitched his second complete game of the season and third of his career to help the Pirates stop a four-game losing streak, one night after they lost the first game of the series against the Cardinals, 4-3, in 14 innings.
In a testament to his efficiency, Liriano began the ninth inning with his pitch count at 83 and a shutout on the line. He lost the shutout on Carlos Beltran's RBI groundout, but no matter. Liriano was pleased even without the shutout, which would have been just the second of his career.
“I was thinking just about the next hitter and winning the game,” Liriano said. “I wasn't thinking about the shutout.”
Making the effort even more impressive was that Liriano was coming off the worst game of his career, a miserable outing in Colorado on Friday in which he gave up 10 runs and 12 hits in 2 1⁄3 innings.
Hurdle said he had no doubt that the left-hander would bounce back.
“I believe what I believe, and I believed he was going to go out and throw a good game,” Hurdle said.
Pedro Alvarez, who has been a terror against the Cardinals the past two years but is batting just .189 since the All-Star break, hit a home run estimated at 440 feet to center field off right-hander Shelby Miller (11-8) in the second inning.
Garrett Jones added as solo shot — his first since July 21 — to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
“It definitely feels good to just connect on one, know you got one and put a good swing on the ball,” Jones said.
The Pirates took a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning. Neil Walker, led off with a single. Third baseman David Freese bobbled a sharply hit ball by Jones and was charged with an error, giving the Pirates runners on first and second.
After Andrew Lambo flied out to right, Tony Sanchez singled in Walker. Starling Marte's two-run double capped the scoring.
Liriano is the first Pirates pitcher to earn a decision in each of his first 17 starts since Vern Law, who had a decision in his first 19 in 1965. He's one win shy of matching his career high of 14, set in 2010 with Minnesota when he was named AL Comeback Player of the Year.
“It's a great feeling,” Liriano said. “I had my worst game in Colorado, and I was able to come in today and go deep in the game after a long game last night. It was great not only for me but for the whole team.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Steelers still knockin’ on Canton’s door
- Pitcher Arrieta, Cubs shut down Pirates in victory at PNC Park
- Heyward-Bey looks to make impact on special teams with Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Spaeth on baby watch
- Perfect storm rains heroin, pain pills onto Mon Valley
- Murrysville oncologist says he had necessary permits to hunt, kill lion
- Philanthropist and one-time GOP powerhouse Elsie Hillman dies at 89
- Esmark CEO Bouchard: Steel industry ‘weathered through the storm’
- Rex Energy posts $155 million loss on low gas prices
- Connellsville Redevelopment Authority’s future at risk
- Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear