Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 8/14/13
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I’d say that qualifies as a pretty good bounce back performance – for the Pirates as a team and especially for Francisco Liriano. The Bucco ace continues to thrive in his role as a “stopper” – his numbers when the Bucs need a win have been simply unreal, and they got even better on Wednesday when he took the ball in hopes of ending a four game losing streak. And of course, Frankie was the one that started the losing streak by allowing a career-worst 10 runs in Colorado last Friday. You would’ve never known that from watching him in this one, though. Liriano was back to his filthy self and made short work of the Cardinals all night, tossing his second complete game of the year. He was ruthlessly efficient (didn’t even throw 100 pitches) and was rarely challenged. The only St. Louis run came in the ninth when the game was essentially already decided. Liriano continues to amaze, and even though that last start probably knocked him out of Cy Young contention, he’s been incredibly valuable to the Bucs’ pitching staff. Steal of the offseason. The offense also deserves plenty of credit for the victory – it was big for the Bucs to jump out to another early lead and set the tone. Pedro Alvarez loves hitting against the Cards, and after a tough night on Tuesday he led off the second inning Wednesday with a monstrous bomb to center. Garrett Jones also homered in the second to make it 2-0 quickly. The Bucs kept the pressure on against stud rookie Shelby Miller and got to him even more in the fourth – Tony Sanchez delivered an RBI single and Starling Marte picked up a huge 2-out, 2-run hustling double. Great to see that after the night he had on Tuesday. It’s certainly a relief to see the Pirates re-assert their dominance over St. Louis after the loss on Tuesday that had everyone in a bad frame of mind. Now they’ve got some momentum back and will go for a series win tomorrow – and they’ve also got a bit more of a cushion now, up 3 games on the Cards and 3.5 on the streaking Reds. Pirates 5, Cardinals 1 / Box / 2013 Record: 71-48 / Next: Thursday, at Cardinals, 1:45 Source: FanGraphs
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