Francisco Liriano struck out 13 to help the Pittsburgh Pirates take a 3-1 win over the San Diego Padres to open a three- game series.
Liriano (14-5) gave up just four hits and two walks over seven innings to win for a fifth time in his past six starts for the Pirates, who had dropped seven of nine coming in. Pedro Alvarez hit a solo home run and scored twice in the win.
"I didn't feel 100 percent but I thought I was able to make the most of my stuff," said Liriano, who became the first Pirates pitcher to strike out 12 or more batters in a single game since Kip Wells struck out 12 Phillies on July 5, 2005 at PNC Park. "Really didn't have to battle too much out there and that helped."
Andrew Cashner (8-8) tossed a solid game as he gave up just three runs -- one earned -- and five hits with a pair of walks over seven innings for the Padres, who were coming off a four-game split against the Mets. Nick Hundley drove in the lone run of the game for the Padres.
"He threw the ball well tonight," said San Diego manager Bud Black about Cashner. "He had a bunch of ground balls tonight and only gave up five hits. He had some really easy innings tonight and I thought he was on top of his game."
The Pirates got the only runs they needed in the fourth inning. Andrew McCutchen singled to start and Alvarez followed with a single to right-center. The ball was rolling and appeared to be an easy play from Chris Denorfia, but it got past his glove and rolled to the wall. By the time he got to the ball, both runners were on their way home for a 2-0 lead.
Alvarez homered with two outs in the sixth, his 31st of the season, for a 3-0 lead.
Liriano faced a jam in the fourth as the Padres loaded the bases with two outs, but Ronny Cedeno hit into a fielder's choice to end the frame.
Denorfia doubled with one out in the fifth, but Will Venable grounded out and Jedd Gyorko struck out.
Liriano worked a perfect sixth and seventh, while Justin Wilson did the same in the eighth.
Mark Melancon gave up a two-out RBI double to Hundley in the ninth, but then struck out Mark Kotsay for his eighth save of the season.
Venable saw his career-high 15-game hitting streak come to an end as he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts ... San Diego took five of the six games against Pittsburgh last season ... San Diego was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base ... On Monday, Pittsburgh recalled pitcher Ryan Reid from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned pitcher Kris Johnson to Indianapolis.