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Pittsburgh at Chicago

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Pittsburgh (36-25) «000001001271
Chi. Cubs (24-34)000000000050

Liriano, Pirates get back on track against Cubs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Francisco Liriano wasn't quite sure where his pitches were going. The one thing he did control was his emotions.

Liriano pitched two-hit ball over seven innings and the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0 Friday for their major league-leading 10th shutout, matching Pittsburgh's total for all of last seaso.

It is, as manager Clint Hurdle said, a "remarkable number." And it stands out even more because the Pirates don't have a complete game.

Liriano (4-2) walked five, his most since Sept. 1 last year, but struck out eight to help Pittsburgh stop a three-game losing streak.

"I didn't feel, location-wise, I was that good," he said. "I was missing my spots a lot, and I walked too many guys. You know, just keep fighting `til the end."

Liriano walked two in the second and two in the fourth. But rather than get rattled, he worked his way out of trouble both times and came away with the win after a two-start losing streak.

Mark Melancon pitched the eighth, and Jason Grilli finished the five-hitter for his major league-leading 23rd save in as many chances. After two-out singles by Ryan Sweeney and pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro, Grilli struck out Darwin Barney to preserve another shutout.

"We had 10 (shutouts) all last year and actually we pitched a lot better last year than we did the first year I was here," Hurdle said. "It just speaks to the job the pitchers are doing here, No. 1 throwing strikes, keeping the ball down. We've been able to get a little better at it every year, and this year, obviously, we've taken it to another level at this point in the season."

Russell Martin had two hits, including an RBI double off Travis Wood (5-4) in the sixth, as the Pirates won for the second time in seven games. Jordy Mercer doubled twice.

Pittsburgh continued to struggle at the plate after managing just one hit off Julio Teheran in a 5-0 loss at Atlanta on Wednesday. This time, the Pirates finished with seven hits.

Wood gave up one run and four hits in six innings with two walks and six strikeouts, but couldn't quite match Liriano on the mound.

"He kept us off balance, kept the ball down all day," Wood said. "He really worked us. Even though he had several walks, he was able to battle around that and pitch a good ballgame."

He had the Cubs' first hit, a one-out single in the fifth, after hitting his first career grand slam in a win over the Chicago White Sox last week.

"Travis has been the same all year," Barney said. "He's been consistent pounding the zone. He was a little bit more sporadic than he has been. But he still had good stuff. He keeps them off balance."

Outscored 29-11 and shut out three times in their previous six games, the Pirates went ahead in the sixth.

After escaping a bases-loaded jam in the second, Wood retired 11 straight before Mercer's one-out double. Mercer advanced on Andrew McCutchen's fly to right and scored on Martin's double.

"I just told myself I was going to be aggressive and not wait around," Martin said. "He's throwing lots of strikes, and I picked a side of the plate."

Travis Snider added an RBI grounder in the ninth against Carlos Villanueva after Martin's walk and Pedro Alvarez's single.

Notes

  • Pirates LHP Wandy Rodriguez is to throw a bullpen session on Monday before the team decides whether he will go on the DL, although manager Clint Hurdle did say there was no "acute structural damage to the ligament" in Rodriguez's throwing arm. Rodriguez got only one out in Wednesday's loss at Atlanta before leaving with tightness in his left forearm.
  • Sweeney, the Cubs' CF, made a neat catch in the eighth when he raced to his right and dove to snag Starling Marte's drive.
  • Sveum said Rafael Dolis, on the 15-day DL with a mild strain in his right forearm, is "a lot better," and Shawn Camp (sprained right big toe) threw a bullpen session on Friday. Sveum also said no date has been set for Kyuji Fujikawa to have ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow.
  • A.J. Burnett (3-6, 3.22 ERA) starts Saturday for the Pirates, with Jeff Samardzija (3-6, 2.96 ERA) going for the Cubs.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Francisco Liriano walks five but strikes out eight to help Pittsburgh stop a three-game skid. He lost his previous two starts. (USATSI)
Francisco Liriano walks five but strikes out eight to help Pittsburgh stop a three-game skid. He lost his previous two starts. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

R. Martin
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Chicago

T. Wood
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 2
K 6
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starling Marte, LF4000010 .276
Jordy Mercer, SS5120003 .257
Andrew McCutchen, CF4000002 .279
Gaby Sanchez, 1B3000111 .236
Russell Martin, C3121110 .250
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4010013 .200
Neil Walker, 2B4010022 .255
Travis Snider, RF3001110 .241
Francisco Liriano, P3000033 .091
    Mark Melancon, P0000000 .000
   a- Garrett Jones, PH1010000 .260
    Jason Grilli, P0000000 .000
Totals34272310  
a-singled for Melancon in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jordy Mercer 2 (6, Wood, Villanueva), Russell Martin (11, Wood)
RBI - Russell Martin (15), Travis Snider (18)
2-OUT RBI - Russell Martin (4)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Starling Marte (3, Dropped fly)
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Francisco Liriano (W,4-2) 7200580 1.75
Mark Melancon (H,19) 1100020 1.15
Jason Grilli (S,23) 1200030 0.98
WP - Francisco Liriano (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 110-62, Mark Melancon 23-15, Jason Grilli 25-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 5-8, Mark Melancon 1-0
Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 28, Mark Melancon 4, Jason Grilli 5
Chicago Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Darwin Barney, 2B5000033 .213
Cody Ransom, 3B2000110 .230
   a- Luis Valbuena, PH-3B1000010 .246
Anthony Rizzo, 1B3000112 .256
Alfonso Soriano, LF4010010 .271
Scott Hairston, RF3000122 .160
Welington Castillo, C2010112 .261
   b- David DeJesus, PH1000010 .274
Starlin Castro, SS3000113 .250
Ryan Sweeney, CF4010002 .348
Travis Wood, P2010000 .308
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
   c- Julio Borbon, PH1000010 .234
    Carlos Villanueva, P0000000 .176
   d- Dioner Navarro, PH1010000 .258
Totals32050513  
a-struck out for Ransom in the 8th
b-struck out for Castillo in the 9th
c-struck out for Marmol in the 7th
d-singled for Villanueva in the 9th
Batting
CS - Alfonso Soriano (3, 2nd base by Liriano/Martin)
Team LOB - 10
Chicago Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Travis Wood (L,5-4) 6411260 2.65
Carlos Marmol 1000020 5.40
Carlos Villanueva 2311120 3.84
HBP - Marte (by Carlos Villanueva)
Pitches-Strikes - Travis Wood 103-64, Carlos Marmol 10-7, Carlos Villanueva 44-25
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Travis Wood 2-10, Carlos Marmol 1-0, Carlos Villanueva 2-2
Batters Faced - Travis Wood 24, Carlos Marmol 3, Carlos Villanueva 11
Game Information
Attendance - 31614
Game Time - 3:11
Temperature - 55
Umpires - Home - Jordan Baker, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Angel Hernandez