Pitching carries Pirates past Giants
Pittsburgh relief pitcher Mark Melancon, right, and catcher Russell Martin celebrate the Pirates’ 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Francisco Liriano struck out a season-high 11 in seven innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 Tuesday night.
Josh Harrison hit a leadoff home run in the first inning and Travis Snider added a two-run shot in the second for the Pirates, who moved within one game of first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.
A former minor league prospect for the Giants, Liriano (3-7) gave up a home run to Mike Morse but was otherwise stellar while leading the surging Pirates to their eighth win in 11 games. The left-hander allowed four hits, walked one and retired 18 of the final 21 hitters he faced.
San Francisco lost its sixth straight, matching its longest skid of the season.
Harrison hit a 3-2 pitch from Giants starter Tim Hudson off the facing off the brick wall in right field for his first career leadoff home run. Harrison is hitting .583 (7 for 12) with a double and three home runs over his past three games.
Snider hit his seventh homer after Ike Davis reached on an infield single leading off the second.
It was just enough to help the Pirates (57-49) move a season-high eight games over .500.
Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his 20th save.
Buster Posey had three of the Giants’ six hits, including a leadoff single in the ninth. Pablo Sandoval followed with a deep fly out to right before Melancon struck out Morse and pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa.
Hudson (8-8) allowed six hits over seven innings and took his sixth loss in the last eight starts.
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte ran the bases but has not yet been cleared to play after being placed on the 7-day concussion list. Marte is eligible to come off the DL Wednesday but no move is expected.