Francisco Liriano (15-6) threw two-hit shutout baseball for eight innings, Garrett Jones went 3-for-4 with four RBI’s, and the Pittsburgh Pirates tied the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the National League Central Division with a 5-0 shutout of the Cards on Friday night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The win was Liriano’s career-high 15th of the season, and the Pirates’ 78th. The Bucs have not won more than 79 games in any season since 1992.
Liriano struck out six batters and walked two. He was relieved for a pinch-hitter after he threw 95 pitches. Mark Melancon pitched the ninth inning, and allowed two additional hits.
Jones delivered a two-run, bases-loaded double in the first inning, went back-to-back with Russell Martin on solo home runs in the fourth frame, and provided an RBI single following a double by Marlon Byrd in the fifth inning. Jose Tabata and Neil Walker both went 2-for-4.
The Pirates beat Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller (12-9; 3.13 ERA). Both the Bucs and the Cards now sport records of 78-56. The second game of their three-game series on Saturday night will pair Pittsburgh’s A.J. Burnett (6-9; 3.18 ERA) against the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn (13-8; 4.02 ERA).