Francisco Liriano, balanced offense leads Pirates to 8-0 win


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Liriano outstanding in Pirates’ 8-0 win

Yet again, the Pittsburgh Pirates got a stellar effort from their starting pitcher as the team rolled to a fifth-straight win. This time, it was Francisco Liriano who led the charge, leading the Bucs to an 8-0 trouncing of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon.

The left-hander was effectively wild, overcoming half-a-dozen walks and limiting the Dbacks’ offense to just two hits over 6 1/3 innings, while striking out seven – lowering his earned run average to 2.22 in the process. He was staked to an early lead and never looked back – even before the team added some cushion late.

In the top of the first, with the bases loaded and two outs, first baseman Pedro Alvarez lined a two-run double off Arizona southpaw Jeremy Hellickson, giving Pittsburgh a lead which it would never relinquish.

Fan favorite Neil Walker drove in a pair of his own in the top of the fifth against Hellickson, extending the Pittsburgh lead to 4-0 before the visitors poured it on in the eighth and ninth, adding four more runs to blow things wide open.

Pittsburgh (11-8) out-hit the Diamondbacks (8-10) by a 14-to-2 margin, also overcoming a pair of fielding miscues in the win.

Chris Stewart added one of the team’s four late runs via sac fly in the eighth before Gregory Polanco, Andrew McCutchen and Sean Rodriguez all drove in runs in the top of the ninth before Antonio Bastardo finished things off in the ninth.

What Stood Out:

Four Pirates players tallied more than one base hit in the win, with eight different players coming up with a base hit on Sunday. When the starting pitching is as good as it’s been of late and the offense is clicking for Clint Hurdle‘s club, it quickly becomes clear why this team was preseason World Series picks of multiple experts.

If McCutchen can break his cold spell (he snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a single Sunday and heat up in the weeks to come, Pittsburgh could become a very dangerous team in the National League Central.

What’s Next:

Pittsburgh (11-8) will head to the Windy City to take on the division-rival Chicago Cubs (10-7) in a rematch of last week’s series, which was split between the two clubs.

Righty Vance Worley (2-1, 4.00) will square off against Jason Hammel (1-1, 5.19) in the series opener at the Friendly Confines on Monday. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. CT.

Next: Pirates' Burnett winless - through no fault of his own