It is, first of all, always nice to see the Pirates sprint out to a big lead against someone and keep it after those two scares against the Rockies and Braves earlier this year. Francisco Liriano’s control was not at its best today, with five walks in 5 2/3 innings, but the Diamondbacks couldn’t do much of anything with the pitches that did cross the strike zone. Jared Hughes got him out of a mess in the sixth inning, Arquimedes Caminero, uh, at least didn’t walk anyone in his 1 2/3 innings of work, and AJ Shugel finished out the easy win.
The win was easy because Gregory Polanco is turning into a star before our eyes. In the first inning, Shelby Miller threw him a 96 mph fastball down in the zone but over the heart of the plate, and Polanco drove it well over the right-center grandstand for a three-run homer. He added a two-run double to key the three-run third inning rally that really broke the game open (taking it from 6-1 to 9-1) to bring his RBI total to five on the night. Beyond Polanco it was the same multi-pronged offensive attack we’re used to; every starter had at least one hit and only John Jaso, Chris Stewart, and Liriano stopped at one. Mercer had a two-run double, and Liriano, Kang, and McCutchen all drove runs in.
The Pirates are 25-19 and 7-2 since finally breaking through against the Cubs.
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images