Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 10/7/14
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Francisco Liriano was brilliant yet again in the Pirates’ fourth straight victory on Wednesday night, as the Bucs continue to roll in Washington this week. Liriano quickly walked the leadoff man, which might have induced some worries after a poor start last time out. He quickly alleviated all concerns by allowing no more baserunners until the fourth – another walk. He returned to the Liriano we’ve become accustomed to in 2013, absolutely dominating the Nats and planting thoughts of a no-hitter in fans’ minds. He took one into the sixth, got two outs, but lost it when Pedro Alvarez couldn’t complete a tough diving play.  Still, Frankie bounced back and escaped the inning, then went on to go into the eighth, allowing just one more hit. His changeup was especially key to his success, and after he locked up Scott Hariston with one to finish his night, he came off the mound to tremendous applause…from an insane amount of Pirate fans at Nats Park. Amazing sight. Alvarez couldn’t make the play to preserve the no hitter in the sixth, but he made up for it by providing the Bucs’ only run for the first eight innings. Stephen Strasburg was dominant, matching Liriano (he struck out a more impressive 12 and walked 0, but allowed the one run) to create a really riveting pitcher’s duel – maybe the best one we’ve seen all year. The Bucs broke it open in the top of the ninth when Starling Marte snapped his slump with a hit, Neil Walker drove one to the gap to drive him in, and Michael McKenry singled with the bases loaded (after two outs, a walk, and a HBP). It was a good thing, too, because Justin Wilson (who stayed in after the lead quickly expanded to four) allowed a two run bomb in the ninth, prompting Clint Hurdle to bring in new closer Mark Melancon. Mark allowed a hit but got out of it…with some help from the ump when Walker “tagged” Wilson Ramos on a game-ending double play ball. It was a horrible call to end it, but hey, we’ve seen that go the other way. The Bucs will take the win (and Melancon would’ve just needed one more out with the tying run at the plate anyway). Pirates 4, Nationals 2 / Box / 2013 Record: 60-39 / Next: Thursday, at Nationals, 12:35 Source: FanGraphs
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