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National League Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Chicago
(Friday, July 5th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 6, Chicago 2
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Francisco Liriano continued to dazzle in the Pirates' 6-2 win over the Chicago Cubs in the first of a three game series.
Liriano (8-3) used 111 pitches to go the distance for only the second time in his nine-year career and first time this season. He gave up two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts.
Since his call up on May 11, Liriano leads the National League in wins and, with a 2.20 earned run average, his ERA is below five for only the second time since 2008.
"This was an exclamation point to what he's been doing," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Just a very impressive outing."
The lefty's only other complete game was his no-hitter in the South Side of Chicago against the White Sox on May 3, 2011 when he was a member of the Minnesota Twins.
"It's so difficult to face him," Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro said. "He throws all his pitches the same speed with different actions."
Starling Marte helped ignite the offense for Pittsburgh, which won for the 11th time in its last 13 games. Marte had three hits and scored a pair of runs.
Jeff Samardzija (5-8) lost for the first time since June 8. He gave up five runs on nine hits and five walks in six innings.
Scott Hairston knocked in both Cubs runs with a home run in Chicago's third loss in four games.
The Pirates struck first in the second inning after Russell Martin's one-out double. After Samardzija intentionally walked Jordy Mercer to get to Liriano, the lefty helped himself, flipping a base hit to left field to plate Martin.
Cody Ransom walked to start the bottom half of the second and, two batters later, Hairston slammed a two-run blast to give Chicago the lead.
The Cubs only had two more hits after Hairston's home run.
The Cubs' advantage was short lived. The Pirates struck three in the top half of the third.
Marte started the inning with a bunt single and Neil Walker sent a line drive to center field, misplayed by Cubs center fielder Dave Sappelt, for a triple to score Marte. Sappelt was shaded to left field and took a bad angle on the ball, which was hit to his left.
Andrew McCutchen followed with a walk and Garrett Jones yanked a base hit to right to score Walker and move McCutchen to third. McCutchen came home on a successful double steal after Jones drew the throw to second and easily swiped the bag.
Jones scored in the fifth inning after he tripled to right. Despite replays that suggested otherwise, Jose Tabata legged out a two-out infield single to short to score Jones.
The Bucs capped the scoring in the eighth inning after Marte led off with a base hit, stole second and scored on a pair of ground outs by Walker and McCutchen, respectively.
Pittsburgh has won seven straight road games for the first time since April 3-17, 2002 ... The Pirates are 25-13 against National League Central opponents this season while the Cubs are 11-27 against their division rivals ... Pittsburgh is 7-3 against Chicago this season ... Liriano is 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA (six earned runs in 28 2/3 innings) in four career starts against the Cubs ... Liriano tossed the Pirates' first complete game of the season.
07/05 21:40:45 ET