The Pittsburgh Pirates continued their strong recent road play with a 6-1 interleague victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night at Angels Stadium. Pittsburgh has won four of six games on its current nine-game road trip, including the first two of its series in Anaheim.
With the victory and St. Louis falling to the Rangers, the Pirates (45-30) are two games behind the Cardinals and have the second-best record in Major League Baseball.
Starting pitcher Francisco Liriano (6-3) went 6 2/3 innings while allowing one run off seven hits. The 29-year-old lefty struck out six.
The Bucs opened the scoring in the top of the second when Pedro Alvarez hit a solo home run to right field to give the Pirates the 1-0 lead. Alvarez, whose 18 homers lead the team, has slugged the ball over the fence in each of the last three games.
Later in the inning, Jordy Mercer singled to left to score Gaby Sanchez, and Russell Martin reached on a bases-loaded walk against Angels starter Jerome Williams, scoring Travis Snider to give the Buccos the 3-0 lead.
In the fourth, Snider singled to center, scoring Neil Walker from second base to extend the Pirates lead to 4-0. Andrew McCutchen hit a solo home run, his eighth, in the top of the fifth.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Angels (33-42) got on the board when Mike Trout singled to center to score J.B. Shuck from second.
In the ninth, Gaby Sanchez homered to left to extend the Pirates lead to the eventual 6-1 final score.
The Pirates and Angels wrap their weekend series Sunday afternoon at 3:35 Eastern time. The Bucs will send Charlie Morton to the mound against L.A.’s Joe Blanton. It will be Morton’s third start since returning to MLB from Tommy John surgery.