Francisco Liriano Pitches Seven Scoreless to Stop Pirates’ Slide

Francisco Liriano was at his wildest, but the left-hander battled through jams with strikeouts and flyouts to pitch the Pirates to a 2-0 win Friday afternoon in Chicago.

Francisco Liriano Pitching

Francisco Liriano was strong again for his fourth victory. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The left-hander struck out eight hitters and allowed only two hits en route to the second seven-inning shutout of the Cubs in the last month. Despite giving up five walks and throwing a season-low 56% strikes, Liriano kept a zero on Wrigley Field’s scoreboard and lowered his season ERA to 1.75.

Russell Martin drove in the game’s first run in the 6th inning. After Jordy Mercer hit a double into left and moved to third base on a flyout, Martin stepped up with two outs and pounded a first-pitch slider into the left-field corner to bring him home. In the 9th, Martin drew a leadoff walk, then next batter Pedro Alvarez lined a single to right to move him to third base. After Neil Walker struck out, Travis Snider grounded to third but beat out a possible inning-ending double play and score Martin.

Other than Mercer and Martin unearthing two hits each, the Pirates continued to toil in the batting mines for most of the game, digging up only seven total hits. Some credit must go to starting pitcher Travis Wood, who gave up one run in six innings of work. Wood allowed four hits and two walks, but struck out six Pirates hitters and broke up Liriano’s no-hit bid in the 5th inning with a sharp single to left.

More on Liriano

Liriano’s seven scoreless innings were not without trouble. With two outs in the second, Liriano walked back-to-back hitters before getting Ryan Sweeney to fly out. In the 4th, he walked leadoff hitter Anthony Rizzo, then left a fastball over the plate that Alfonso Soriano crushed to dead-center before the ball fell into McCutchen’s glove on the warning track. After walking the next batter, Liriano struck out Welington Castillo and got Starlin Castro to line out. His fifth free pass was in the 5th inning, walking Cody Ransom on four pitches after Wood’s single. He then pumped three straight strikes past a frozen Rizzo to escape unharmed.

Cubs batters whiffed on 13 of Liriano’s pitches, but he mostly nibbled along the bottom edge of the zone for called strikes and weak contact. He now has earned 47 strikeouts over 36 innings this season.

Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless 8th inning with two strikeouts and Jason Grilli struck out the side in the 9th, despite giving up two singles, to stop the Pirates’ three-game losing streak.

The Pirates collected their 10th shutout of the season on June 7, which is the earliest point in franchise history (dating back to 1916) a Pittsburgh team has gotten double-digit shutouts.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

James Santelli

James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person. Google

Pirates Lose Another Extra-Inning Game in Atlanta

Next Story »

Pirates’ Bats Jump on Samardzija to Support Burnett in 6-2 Victory

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

    Where would this team be without its two key free agent signings?

    The hitting is abysmal across the board. Too many K’s, and not enough walks and XBH to make up for them.

Latest Analysis

  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    5 hours ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    1 day ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    3 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    4 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    5 days ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    6 days ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    1 week ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    1 week ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Third Base Mathisen Luplow Joe

    Who’s on Third? In the Pirates’ Farm System, It Could Be Anyone

    1 week ago

    If you have ever played third base in your life — professional, college, high school, slow pitch softball — then the Pittsburgh Pirates might be contacting you ...

    Read More
  • Jason Creasy

    Another Pitcher to Watch From the Pirates’ 2011 Draft

    2 weeks ago

    The 2011 draft is shaping up to be a great class for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They picked first overall that year, so naturally you’d expect good things ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More