The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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August 3, 2013

Pirates flatten Rockies

PITTSBURGH — Francisco Liriano continued his recent dominance with seven strong innings, and Jose Tabata homered and drove in two runs to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.

Liriano (12-4) allowed only two hits to offset his five walks and had six strikeouts. The left-hander improved to 7-1 with a 1.65 ERA in his last eight starts for the NL Central leaders.

Tabata hit his first home run since May 11 – a span of 112 plate appearances – and also tripled while going 3 for 4.

The Rockies put men on base in six of Liriano’s seven innings but they went 0-for-9 against him with runners on, including five hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Gaby Sanchez had two hits and two RBIs for Pittsburgh, while Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen added two hits each.

Fill-in closer Mark Melancon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his sixth save.

Jorge De La Rosa (10-6) pitched four-plus innings and gave up three runs on six hits while striking out three and walking two. The outing came a day after Rockies owner Dick Monfort said Colorado would exercise De La Rosa’s $11 million club option for 2014.

Colorado lost for the fifth time in six games.

The Pirates scored one run each in the third through seventh innings to take a 5-0 lead.

In the third, Starling Marte led off with a single, stole second, took third on Mercer’s groundout and scored on McCutchen’s double. Tabata led off the fourth by homering over the 375 sign in right-center for his third of the season.

Sanchez hit run-scoring singles in both the fifth and seventh innings, while Tabata led off the sixth with a triple and scored on Josh Harrison’s squeeze bunt.

Colorado finally scored a pair in the eighth on consecutive RBI singles by Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer, who returned to the team after missing the previous two games because of a family emergency.

Notes: Colorado LF Carlos Gonzalez was not in the lineup for a fourth straight game with a sprained right middle finger but hopes to play today. ... Pittsburgh C Russell Martin sat out for the second time in three games because of left knee soreness. ... The Pirates will start RHP A.J. Burnett (4-7, 2.86 ERA) today against RHP Juan Nicasio (6-4, 4.92) in the finale of the three-game series

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