Don’t look now, but Francisco Liriano may have returned to his 2013 form.
Liriano [3-7] threw seven innings allowing four hits and striking out 11 San Francisco Giants as part of a 3-1 victory Tuesday night.
The performance earned Liriano his third victory of the season and his second consecutive seven inning start. His effort also lowered his ERA to 1.96 for July. Manager Clint Hurdle called it Liriano’s best outing of the season.
“Everything was working tonight,” Liriano said to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I was getting better location as the game went on. Pitching’s all about location.”
The Pirates [57-49] once again scored their runs early in the game and all of them were scored via the home run. Josh Harrison struck first in the first inning on a 3-2 count off of Tim Hudson [8-8] for his eighth homer of the season.
In the top of the second inning, Ike Davis reached base on an infield single to third base. Travis Snider then made the Giants [57-50] pay with a second home run, almost exactly where Harrison’s landed on a 1-2 pitch to make the score 3-0 Pirates.
Liriano did surrender a lead off homer to Michael Morse in the bottom of the second inning but recovered to strike out the next three batters to end the inning.
Tony Watson pitched the eighth inning and earned his 25th hold of the season. He surrendered a hit but got a double play to end the inning. Mark Melancon pitched the ninth inning to get his 20th save. Melancon allowed a hit but struck out two batters, including former Pirate Travis Ishikawa to end the game.
Charlie Morton [5-10 3.40 ERA] hopes to pitch the Pirates to a sweep as he faces Tim Lincecum [9-7 3.96 ERA] on Thursday at 3:40 p.m. Eastern. In his past three seasons, Morton is 2.1 with a 1.99 ERA against the Giants.