In a season full of surprises for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Francisco Liriano's resurgence may be the biggest.
Liriano aims to add to his career-high win total on Wednesday night as the Pirates try to sweep their three-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The 29-year-old Liriano won a previous-best 14 games with Minnesota in 2010 with a 3.62 earned run average, but won just 15 games total over the following two years while posting an ERA of 5.23 with the Twins and Chicago White Sox.
He signed with the Pirates in February and after a late start to the season due to injury has gone 15-6 with a 2.57 ERA in 21 starts.
Liriano allowed one run or fewer in four of his six starts last month, though he did allow 14 runs over a combined 6 1/3 innings in the two losses. He capped his August with another gem over St. Louis on Friday, hurling eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball in a 5-0 win.
"He's very determined right now," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Liriano.
The 29-year-old has won both of his starts versus Milwaukee this season, giving up two runs over 11 2/3 frames, and is 6-2 against the Brewers lifetime with a 3.27 ERA.
Liriano will try to pitch Pittsburgh to its first winning season since 1992. The Pirates' 4-3 win over the Brewers on Tuesday gave the club its 81st win of the campaign, snapping the franchise's streak of 20 straight losing seasons which was a North American professional sports record.
It came in thrilling fashion as Travis Snider came off the bench to club a solo homer in the top of the ninth inning.
Snider's pinch-hit blast off Milwaukee's Jim Henderson was the only hit that didn't come from the Pirates' 3-4-5 combo of Andrew McCutchen, Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd. The trio finished 7-for-10, with McCutchen launching his 100th career home run and Byrd collecting two RBI.
The rest of the team was 1-for-24.
"He squared it up," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Snider's homer. "It was a welcome sight."
Pittsburgh has won five of its last seven and pushed its lead for first place in the NL Central over St. Louis to a pair of games.
"They're a really good ball club," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of the Pirates.
Jonathan Lucroy had a two-run single for the Brewers and Jean Segura singled home a run in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game.
Milwaukee will try to snap a five-game losing streak behind Wily Peralta, who faces the Pirates for the first time in his career.
Peralta is 0-3 over his last four starts with a 5.01 ERA. He is coming off Friday's 5-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who got to him for three runs on four hits and two walks over six innings.
Peralta, a 24-year-old righty, is 8-14 with a 4.51 ERA in 28 starts this season.
The Pirates have won eight of their last nine 10 the Brewers and lead the season series 12-6.