Francisco Liriano continued the trend of quality pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates and both Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte homered as the Pirates pounded the Mets 9-1 yesterday. This was the team’s third win in a row and represented a sweep of the Mets.
The Pirates scored first when Jordy Mercer doubled in Francisco Cervelli in the fourth inning. Mercer has been struggling as of late and has seen reduced playing time due to the hot bat of Jung Ho Kang, so it was certainly great to see him contribute. The Mets got their one and only run off Liriano in the top of the fifth when Wilmer Flores knocked in Ruben Tejada. This would be the only real blemish on an otherwise outstanding start from Liriano.
Jonathon Niese was knocked out of the game in the fifth inning and the Pirates did not let up once the bullpen was called into the game. Andrew McCutchen added his seventh home run of the year in the fifth, a two-run shot that also brought Jose Tabata across the plate. After Cervelli singled in Kang, Niese was pulled from the game.
Marte welcomed Mets’ reliever Erik Goeddel to the game by blasting his ninth home run of the year. Marte continues to swing a hot bat and should see more time in the clean up spot moving forward. Things did not get any better for the second Mets’ reliever Sean Gilmartin in the seventh inning as Cervelli scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Harrison and pinch hitter extraordinaire Corey Hart singled in Mercer.
The Pirate offense made the end of the game easy for the bullpen, but Jared Hughes, Tony Watson and Arquimedes Caminero were lights out. The three relievers covered the last three innings of the game by allowing only one hit and two strikeouts between them.
What Stood Out
Liriano continued a fantastic stretch of starting pitching for the Pirates. Yesterday was the third game in a row where the starting pitcher struck out at least 10 opposing hitters. Liriano’s 12 strikeouts represented a season high for him. After his last start against Minnesota when he only lasted two innings, seeing this kind of bounce back is a welcome sight to fans.
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Another thing that stood out was the continued heating up of McCutchen’s bat. He is starting to put to rest any questions of whether he is healthy or not. He and Marte are starting to look like a formidable 1-2 punch in the middle of the lineup. They are both such different hitters that opposing pitchers need to make sure they evaluate how to pitch to them.
The Miami Marlins come to Pittsburgh on Monday to start a three-game series at 7:05p PM at PNC Park. The Marlins have not been playing well as of late and with the Pittsburgh Pirates coming off a very dominant sweep of the Mets, this is a great opportunity to make up some ground in the NL Central.
Charlie Morton will make his 2015 debut today as he toes the rubber against former New York Yankee David Phelps. It will be interesting to see how Morton does since he hasn’t pitched in a MLB game since 2014. But if the offense keeps hitting the way it has, he may not need to be too sharp to get a “W” tonight.