The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed a season-high 18 hits Monday night in winning their fifth in a row as they shut out the Chicago White Sox 11-0 at PNC Park. It was the second consecutive shutout and the fourth in the Bucs last five contests.
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Francisco Liriano continued the string of outstanding pitching performances by the Bucs starting rotation as he hurled eight scoreless innings. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound lefthander permitted just two hits, walked only one, and struck out 12 while improving his record to 4-5. The 31-year-old southpaw delivered 69 of his 100 pitches for strikes in facing 25 hitters.
After the game, Clint Hurdle said on the Pirates’ web site, “We’ve probably been on a streak where our starting pitching has been as good, or better, than at any other time since I’ve been here.”
Rob Scahill took care of business out of the bullpen as he did not surrender a hit in closing out a very soggy ninth. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound righthander fired 12 of his 20 pitches for strikes in taking on three ChiSox batters.
The Pirates errupted for five runs in the home half of the first against Chicago rookie starter Carlos Rodon. Andrew McCutchen got it started with a ground ball single to left that scored Josh Harrison. Jung Ho Kang also singled on a grounder to left drove in Starling Marte.
Francisco Cervelli hit his first triple of the season on a line drive to right that brought home both McCutchen and Kang. Jose Tabata wrapped up the early assault of the scoreboard with a line drive to center that brought Cervelli across the plate.
In the fourth, the Pirates added to their treasure of runs when Harrison singled to center to score Jordy Mercer. Marte hit a ground ball to center that drove in Harrison.
Mercer collected his seventh double of the season on a line drive to right in the home half of the fifth that scored Kang.
The barrage came to a conclusion in the sixth when Marte picked up his 13th double on a line drive shot to right that brought home Harrison. Marte came around to score on a missed catching error by White Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham. Kang hit his ninth double on a line drive to center that brought home McCutchen.
Rodon allowed seven earned runs on nine hits in three 2/3 innings of work for the White Sox. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound lefthander hurled 42 of his 69 pitches for strikes in facing 19 hitters. It was his first defeat in three decisions and his ERA ballooned from 2.66 to 3.86.
The White Sox did not help their cause by going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and grounding into three double plays. They also racked up three errors on the score sheet.
Among the hot bats on the evening were Harrison and Marte as they both contributed four hits to the box score for the Pirates. McCutchen, Kang, Cervelli, Tabata, and Mercer had two hits apiece.
Up Next: The Pirates and White Sox conclude their two-game set Tuesday at PNC Park. The Boys from the South Side of Chicago will go with 26-year-old Jose Quintana. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound lefthander has a record of 3-6 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. The Bucs will counter with 31-year-old righthander Charlie Morton (4-0, 2.05 ERA/1.06 WHIP). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the contest will be on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The game went 2:51 and there were 24,536 in attendance at PNC Park….Coming into Monday’s matchup, Cervelli leads all National League catchers this season in batting with a .323 average and an on-base percentage of .401…Pittsburgh has have gone 7-3 in one-run games at home this season…The Pirates have put up a Major League best 77-43 record during the month of June in the five seasons, 2011-2015, with Clint Hurdle in charge of the dugout.