The Pittsburgh Pirates finished off a sweep of the San Francisco Giants with a 5-2 victory Wednesday afternoon. With the win, the Pirates moved to a season-high five games over .500 and to within one game of a .500 record on the road. Francisco Liriano tried to match a great outing from Gerrit Cole two nights before with seven innings of one-run ball, striking out six and walking just one. He lowered his ERA to 3.24 on the season in the process. He continues to improve on the year with each passing start, and the 11 hits generated by the offense didn’t hurt either.
Opposite Liriano on the mound was veteran Tim Hudson, who almost had as good of a start as Liriano. Hudson tossed seven innings, allowing two runs and striking out six. However, Liriano earned the win and Hudson earned a loss on a night when his performance often would get him at least a no-decision.
The Giants struck first as they have in each game of the series, going up 1-0 on a Joe Panik single. But the Pirates would score the next five runs in the fourth, the fifth, and the ninth innings. Pittsburgh has seemed to spread out its run production over the course of many innings during this series. Jose Tabata had two hits in the game and his third RBI of the season to knot the game at one in the fourth. Jordy Mercer then launched a solo homer in the fifth to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. The Pirates would score three runs in the ninth to give the bullpen some insurance runs late.
What Stood Out
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Francisco Liriano has recovered from a few bad outings in May to become dominant over his last few starts. He’s striking out batters at a rate of 10.94 batters per nine innings, which is good for third-best in the National League and would be the second-best rate of his career. His 81 strikeouts are also good for fourth in the NL. Needless to say, he’s heating up as of late.
Jordy Mercer also continues to heat up as he has received more playing time. He was 2-4 on the day with a home run as he’s raised his average to .210 on the season. Andrew McCutchen and Francisco Cervelli each added a hit as they continue to be vital cogs of the Pirate offense.
Mark Melancon’s ERA continues to drop and currently sits at 2.45. Since a rough start to the season, he has rebounded nicely.
The Pittsburgh Pirates (29-24) are off Thursday but finish their road trip in Atlanta when they face the Braves (26-27) on Friday. The Braves have been much better this season than many people envisioned them being entering the year. Charlie Morton (2-0, 1.93 ERA) hopes to continue his hot start to the year and move the Pirates’ win streak to four. The Braves will trot out 24-year-old Williams Perez (1-0, 2.66 ERA) who is making his fourth start of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 PM EST.