(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Pirates are starting to play like the team everyone thought it would be heading into the season. They go after a sixth straight win on Monday when they kick off a three-game set with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Pittsburgh continued to roll on Sunday, as Francisco Liriano overcame command issues to toss 6 1/3 scoreless innings and the Pirates completed a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks with an 8-0 win.
Liriano (1-1) walked six batters, but gave up just two hits, struck out seven and did not allow a runner past second base. He has recorded at least seven strikeouts in all four of his starts this season.
Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker drove in two runs apiece and Gregory Polanco scored three times to back Liriano.
"That's the hitter I try to be," said Walker. "To have a series like this, it's a good sign for where my swing is at."
Getting the call for the Pirates on Monday will be righty Vance Worley, who has won his last two starts. Worley battled the elements to beat Chicago on Wednesday, as he overcame the snow and brutal conditions to allow just one unearned run over 5 2/3 innings to improve to 2-1, while lowering his ERA to 4.00.
"I kept the runs off the board and I had good defense working behind me," Worley said. "Me and Francisco Cervelli have been getting on the right page with each other and going right after guys."
Worley is a perfect 3-0 in five starts versus the Cubs with a 1.97 ERA.
Chicago will hand the ball to lefty Travis Wood, who is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA. Wood did not get a decision on Tuesday in Pittsburgh, as he yielded three runs and four hits in five innings of a 9-8 win.
Wood has faced the Pirates 15 times (14 starts) and is 5-7 against them with a 4.35 ERA.
Chicago also enters on a high note after taking both ends of a weather- abbreviated two-game set from the Cincinnati Reds. On Sunday, Addison Russell's three-run double led the Cubs to a 5-2 victory.
"I'm just understanding this whole process," Russell said. "It may be overnight, it may take a few games, it may take a few at-bats. I'm just trying to stay patient and stay with my approach and believe in my talent."
Miguel Montero added a solo home run, two RBI and two runs scored for the Cubs, while Jake Arrieta (3-1) pitched six innings and allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
Chicago had lost two in a row to the Pirates before the Reds series.