Pittsburgh, PA – Francisco Liriano's return to excellence is one of the reasons why the Pittsburgh Pirates have the best ERA in baseball.
He dazzled again on Saturday.
Liriano fired seven shutout innings in the Pirates 5-2 win over the Colorado Rockies in the middle test of a three-game set.
Liriano (12-4) fanned six and surrendered just two hits to go with five walks for Pittsburgh, which has won five of its last seven games.
The southpaw, who is victorious in seven of his last eight starts, saw his ERA dwindle to 2.02. He was 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA for the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox last season.
Jose Tabata was a double short of the cycle. He tallied a solo home run and a pair of runs scored. Mark Melancon tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to record his sixth save of the year in the triumph.
Jorge De La Rosa (10-6) surrendered three runs on six hits and two walks over four innings for the Rockies, who have dropped five of their last six games.
Pittsburgh plated a run in each of the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings to jump out to a 5-0 lead.
Andrew McCutchen ripped a one-out RBI double to right in the third, Tabata smacked a leadoff shot just to the left of the 21-foot Clemente Wall in right- center in the fourth and Gaby Sanchez's one-out RBI single in the fifth made it 3-0.
Tabata began the sixth with a triple and after Neil Walker struck out, he scampered home on Josh Harrison's suicide squeeze. McCutchen had a two-out base hit in the seventh, stole second and scored on Sanchez's base hit to left and increase the margin to 5-0.
"Overall our offense showed up in good fashion. Starlin Marte scoring some runs, McCutchen making some things happen and Jordy Mercer had some good at- bats. The top three were making things happen," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.
RBI singles by Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer in the eighth trimmed the deficit to 5-2.
"Liriano is one of those guys that if you don't get to him early it makes it real tough," said Colorado manager Walt Weiss.
Liriano lost his only career start against the Rockies when he gave up three runs in seven innings on June 17, 2010 ... The Pirates were 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position.