Francisco Liriano battled Stephen Strasburg into the eighth inning Wednesday night, and the Pittsburgh Pirates struck for three ninth-inning runs in the Bucs’ 4-2 victory over the Nationals in Washington, D.C.
The win was the fourth in a row for Pittsburgh (60-39), and the loss was the sixth straight, and the 11th in 13 games, for Washington (48-53).
Liriano (10-4; 2.23 ERA) left the game after seven-and-two-thirds innings with the Pirates leading 1-0. He had thrown 110 pitches, allowed only two hits, struck out 8 batters and walked three. Washington’s two runs came on a two-run home run by Jayson Werth off Pittsburgh reliever Justin Wilson in the bottom of the ninth inning. Mark Melancon relieved Wilson and earned this third save of the season.
Strasburg (5-8; 2.85 ERA) worked eight innings, delivered 118 pitches, was charged with one run and two hits, struck out a dozen batters and walked none.
Pedro Alvarez slammed his 26th homer in the second inning. In the ninth frame, Neil Walker doubled home the second Pirates run, and Mark McKenry delivered a bases-loaded, two run single, making the score 4-0 heading into the bottom of the final inning.
Both teams finished with five hits. No player had more than one. Pirates right fielder Jose Tabata left the game after having been hit in the right forearm by a pitched ball. Pittsburgh remains a game-and-a-half behind first-place St. Louis in the National League Central Division.
On Thursday afternoon, the Pirates will try for a sweep of the four-game series, sending A.J. Burnett (4-7; 3.07 ERA) to the mound against the Nats’ Gio Gonzalez (7-3; 2.89 ERA).