Liriano finally beats Reds as Pirates roll to 7-3 victory
CINCINNATI (AP) Another winning record clinched? Ho-hum. The Pirates don't celebrate such things anymore.
Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run homer and left-hander Francisco Liriano pitched six shutout innings as he finally beat the Reds on his 11th try, leading Pittsburgh to a 7-3 victory on Tuesday night.
The Pirates are first in line for an NL wild card and a third straight playoff appearance, still trying to catch the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. Their win on Tuesday was their 82nd, clinching another winning season.
Nobody much noticed.
''It is tangible evidence of us being in a better place,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ''We had 20 consecutive losing seasons as an organization, and I was here for two of them. And I felt the angst of the city and the fan base, the passion that they have for baseball.
''And one of the things we talked about was creating a new sense and direction of history. That's part of it.''
One of their biggest hurdles this season has been the Reds. The Pirates are 5-10 against their Ohio River rivals, who have dominated their rivalry over the last two years.
McCutchen connected in the third inning off rookie Raisel Iglesias (3-7), who lasted only three innings.
Liriano (10-7) came into the game 0-5 in 10 regular season starts against Cincinnati, the only team he had faced but hadn't beaten during his career. The left-hander allowed three hits, struck out 10 and didn't allow a runner beyond second base.
He also doubled and scored the Pirates' first run off Iglesias, making it all the way home from second base on Gregory Polanco's single. He couldn't remember the last time he scored from second base.
''It was a great feeling to score right there,'' he said.
McCutchen's homer made it 4-0 in the third. It was his 24th career homer against the Reds, his most against any team. He also homered at Great American Ball Park during the All-Star Game in July.
A balk by Iglesias let in another run later in the inning. Iglesias had his streak of seven consecutive quality starts snapped, the longest such streak by a rookie in the majors this season.
Jung Ho Kang doubled and hit a solo homer in the eighth. Starling Marte had three hits, including a double, and scored a run.
Liriano hit Joey Votto in the first inning and Adam Duvall in the fourth. The Pirates have hit 35 Reds over the last three seasons, the most by any major league team against any opponent.
Votto was hit, walked, struck out twice and grounded out, ending his hitting streak at 10 games.
Pirates: Hurdle will skip Gerrit Cole's next turn in the rotation - he would have pitched Friday - to give him a break and set him up to face the Cubs, the Dodgers, the Cubs again and then the Cardinals in his last four starts of the regular season. He also would be first in line to pitch in the postseason. ... C Francisco Cervelli took Todd Frazier's foul tip off the top of his left knee in the fourth inning but stayed in the game.
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton (shoulder) and OF Brennan Boesch (ankle) were activated off the disabled list. ... Duvall left the game after he was hit on the left knee. X-rays were negative. ... LF Kristopher Negron made a diving catch in the seventh and left the game with a partially dislocated left shoulder.
Pirates: J.A. Happ (8-7) has made five solid starts for the Pirates. The left-hander is 1-3 with a 6.82 career ERA against the Reds.
Reds: Keyvius Sampson (2-3) tries for his first win since Aug. 13. He has allowed 15 runs in 11 innings over his last three starts.
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