Liriano leads Pittsburgh Pirates to 7-3 win over Cincinnati Reds
The Pittsburgh Pirates put together a big inning in the third to set up the 7-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday. Francisco Liriano struck out 10 over six innings in his tenth win as the Pirates coasted to their 82nd win of the season, guaranteeing them a winning campaign in 2015 and third season in a row.
Liriano started the attack against Raisel Iglesias in the third inning when he blasted a ground rule double to center field. Gregory Polanco followed up with a single to bring Liriano home and give the Pirates a one run lead. After Starling Marte reached on a single, Andrew McCutchen smacked his 21st home run of the season on the first pitch he saw, a three run shot with still no outs in the inning.
Jung Ho Kang continued the inning with a double and moved to third on Neil Walker‘s ground out. With Francisco Cervelli at the plate, Iglesias balk to bring in Kang and give the Pirates a five run lead. The Pirates chased Iglesias from the game after just three innings, but did not let up on the Cincinnati relief pitchers in the late innings of the game.
In the eighth inning Kang put his 14th home run deep into the stands to further extend the lead. The Pirates added two more runs in the ninth when Sean Rodriguez connected for a double to score both Polanco and McCutchen. With a seven run lead, the win looked all but in the books but the Reds put together a comeback that fell just short.
Mark Melancon was called upon to work the ninth inning even though it was not a safe situation. He gave up a single to Jay Bruce who moved to second on defensive indifference. Bruce eventually moved to third Brayan Pena‘s single and scored when Skip Schumaker hit into a fielder’s choice. Melancon walked Jason Bourgeois before Arquimedes Caminero was brought into the game. Caminero allowed a triple by Eugenio Suarez that brought in two more runs, both charged to Melancon. He was able to get Joey Votto to strike out to end the game and guarantee another winning season for the Pirates.
What Stood Out
Tuesday’s win was a very nice bounce back from the disappointing loss suffered on Monday. Liriano dominated the Cincinnati hitters over six innings, only giving up three hits while striking out 10. This is the type of outing that the Pirates will need to see from Liriano as the team faces more games against the NL Central teams, foes that have given them fits this season.
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After being relatively quiet on Monday, the offense put together a nice third inning with five runs (one because of the balk) and then tacked on a few more at the end of the game. McCutchen added three more RBIs to give him 88 on the season, so 100 RBIs is definitely still possible for the perennial MVP candidate.
The series in Cincinnati will conclude on Wednesday when J.A. Happ and Keyvius Sampson duel at 7:10pm. Happ has been victorious in his last four starts and has only given up one run in those games, most recently shutting out the St. Louis Cardinals through seven innings on September 4th. Sampson has struggled to make it past the fourth inning in his starts as of late, oftentimes being forced from the game because high pitch counts. In his last two starts, both against Milwaukee, Sampson pitched a total of six and two thirds innings and gave up nine runs (eight earned).
Next: Pittsburgh Pirates Minor League Report - September 8th