Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Mlb-rays-twins-jul
 The Pirates still haven’t snapped out of their offensive funk, but today they were able to ride some spectacular pitching as they ended a three game losing streak and started this weekend’s series in Chicago with a shutout win. Francisco Liriano delivered another excellent start. His control problems that we feared this offseason were on full display – he walked five and seemed to be nowhere near the plate for a few short stretches. He negated those problems, though, by allowing just two singles – the Cubs couldn’t do anything at all when he did find the zone. Frankie struck out eight and really turned things up in the sixth and seventh – it was somewhat surprising to see him come back for the seventh as he approached 100 pitches, but he responded with a great 1-2-3 inning. The Bucs had to be very pleased to see a starter go seven – the ‘pen got a bit of extra rest after an off day. Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli shut things down as usual in the eighth and ninth, although Melancon allowed a hit and Grilli allowed two – both innings were longer than usual. Still, Grilli struck out the side and Melancon struck out two. Great work by those two yet again. The offense once again did very little against starter Travis Wood. Jordy Mercer was the star of the day – he doubled down the LF line twice. Russell Martin doubled him in for the first Pirates run in the 5th, and the Bucs barely pushed across an insurance run in the eighth when Travis Snider hit into a fielder’s choice to score Martin the eighth. The rest of the team notched just three hits, and two runs was enough to win today but won’t be most of the time. Still, the Bucs will certainly take it, and they certainly deserved to win thanks to their efforts on the mound. Pirates 2, Cubs 0 / Box / 2013 Record: 36-25 / Next: Saturday, at Cubs, 4:05 Source: FanGraphs
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