Liriano, Pirates frustrated in loss to Nationals
PITTSBURGH – Francisco Liriano is getting frustrated.
The left-hander lost again Sunday as Ian Desmond hit a pair of run-scoring singles to lead Washington to a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, snapping the Nationals’ four-game losing streak.
Liriano (0-5) is winless in 14 consecutive regular-season starts, dating to last Sept. 10 when he won at Texas. He gave up four runs, six hits and four walks in five innings while striking out five.
“I’m not doing my job at all,” Liriano said. “I’m not going deep into games and I’m not keeping the team in the ballgame.”
The Nationals jumped on Liriano for two runs in the first inning. Denard Span led off with a double and later scored on a wild pitch. Desmond followed with his first RBI single.
Washington doubled its lead to 4-0 in the fifth when Anthony Rendon hit a run-scoring triple and scored on another wild pitch by Liriano, who won 16 games last season.
“I was just missing pitches and not doing my job, I think,” Liriano said.
“With men on base, I was trying to overthrow most of the time.”
Desmond came through with runners in scoring position for the Nationals.
Washington was 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position. That might not seem like a lot, but it felt like plenty for the Nationals and their struggling offense.
The Nationals had gone 2 for 27 with runners in scoring position during their skid.
“Base hits with runners in scoring position, that’s how you win ballgames,” Washington manager Matt Williams said.
Desmond got it done twice.
In addition to his hit in the first inning, Desmond made it 5-1 when his second single in the seventh, helping end the Pirates’ four-game winning streak.
Span and Jayson Werth also had two hits for the Nationals, who scored just seven runs during their skid.
“It’s nice to get some big hits,” Rendon said. “We haven’t had many lately, but we’ve tried to stay on an even keel the best we could and we finally got some clutch hits today.”
Neil Walker had three hits for the Pirates.
Josh Harrison hit his third home run and Ike Davis also had two hits.
“I thought he had sequences of all three pitches in some spots,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Liriano. “The consistency, drawn out over the five innings, was not there.”
Doug Fister (2-1) allowed one run and six hits in 5 1-3 innings with four strikeouts and no walks. He has given up two runs in 17 1/3 innings in his past three starts. Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect ninth for his 1th save.
Harrison led off the sixth inning with his home run, a drive into the visitors’ bullpen in center field, that closed the gap to 4-1, but the Nationals got the run back in the seventh on a second run-scoring single by Desmond.
Davis singled in a run in the eighth to draw the Pirates within 5-2.
The Pirates plan to recall RHP Brandon Cumpton (0-1 4.26) from Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday to start against Mets RHP Jacob DeGrom (0-2, 2.77) at New York. Cumpton, a rookie who made two starts for Pittsburgh earlier this season, will take the rotation spot of LHP Wandy Rodriguez, who was designated for assignment Thursday. ... Washington activated 1B Adam LaRoche from the 15-day disabled list before the game and he batted cleanup. LaRoche had been out since May 10 with a strained right quadriceps. ... Washington hosts the Miami Marlins on Monday with RHP Tanner Roark (3-2, 3.42) facing RHP Nathan Eovaldi (3-2, 3.41).