Francisco Liriano (8-3; 2.20 ERA) threw the first complete game recorded this season by a Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher in Pittsburgh’s 6-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Friday afternoon.
For the Pirates (53-32), it was the 11th win in their last 13 games, and it keeps them two games ahead of St. Louis (51-34) in the National League Central Division. Liriano’s last complete game was a no-hitter — also against the Cubs, and also at Wrigley Field — on May 3, 2011. In nine innings of work Friday, he allowed only two runs and four hits, struck out seven batters and walked four. Scott Hairston’s two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning provided the only scoring for the Cubs (36-48).
Starling Marte tallied three of the Pirates’ 13 hits, and Garrett Jones and Jose Tabata recorded two apiece. An RBI triple by Neil Walker, run-scoring singles by Jones, Tabata and Liriano, and an RBI grounder and a steal of home plate, both by Andrew McCutchen, resulted in runs for Pittsburgh.
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (5-8; 3.54 ERA) suffered the loss.
On Saturday afternoon, in the middle game of a three-game series, the Pirates will start Charlie Morton (1-1; 2.50 ERA) against Chicago’s Edwin Jackson (4-10; 5.75 ERA). The Bucs have announced that A.J. Burnett (4-6; 3.12 ERA) will return to the lineup and make a start on Sunday against the Cubs’ Carlos Villanueva (2-4; 3.45 ERA). Burnett has been sidelined with a strained calf muscle.