The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

September 15, 2013

Morneau's single fuels Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Tony Sanchez thought he was going to get the opportunity to catch a no-hitter in his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. That’s how well Francisco Liriano was pitching Sunday.

“I thought there was a chance,” Sanchez said. “His ball was really moving, particularly the slider, was moving all over the place.”

Liriano took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before faltering in his first no-decision this season, and pinch-hitter Justin Morneau singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth to lead the Pirates over the Chicago Cubs 3-2.

Pittsburgh remained tied with St. Louis for the NL Central lead, took three of four from the last-place Cubs and won for the sixth time in seven games. The Cardinals beat Seattle 12-2.

Morneau, acquired from Minnesota on Aug. 31, drove in his first run for the Pirates. The 2006 AL MVP is batting .279 (12 for 43) with Pittsburgh.

“It was perfect timing for the first RBI, that’s for sure,” Morneau said.

“I wish it would have happened a week-and-a-half ago, but I’m glad it happened when it did. It’s just nice to contribute.”

With the score 2-2 in the eighth, Andrew McCutchen was hit by a pitch from Pedro Strop (2-2), took second on Marlon Byrd’s bloop single to center and scored on Morneau’s single.

“It’s funny how things turn out in this game,” Morneau said. “You hit some balls hard and have nothing to show for it then I get a broken-bat hit that ends being the game-winner.”

Kyle Farnsworth (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Mark Melancon completed a three-hitter with a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.

Liriano didn’t allow a hit until Junior Lake singled into the hole between third base and shortstop leading off the seventh. Shortstop Jordy Mercer made a diving effort and stopped the ball on the outfield grass, but Lake easily beat the throw.

Welington Castillo followed with a tying, two-run homer into the bleachers in left-center. Castillo’s seventh homer of the season stopped Liriano’s streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings at PNC Park.

“You knew it was going to be tough and that’s how you score against Liriano — you get somebody on and pop a home run,” Chicago manager Dale Sveum said.

Liriano allowed two runs, three hits and four walks in six-plus innings. At 16-7, he became the first Pirates pitcher with a decision in his first 23 starts since Larry French opened with 24 in a row in 1930, according to STATS.

“He was on the edges of the plate and then he was just off of them,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “The pitch count got up higher than he wanted it to be but he got outs and he had a no-hitter through six innings. He battles and he competes.”

Liriano, who was unavailable for comment after the game, threw 99 pitches through six innings, and Hurdle said it was doubtful he would have made it to the ninth.

“Francisco’s a pro and he realizes it wouldn’t benefit anyone for him to throw 130 pitches on Sept. 15,” Hurdle said.

Cubs starter Travis Wood gave up two runs, five hits and two walks in six innings.

“Obviously, Liriano’s very good so they matched each other evenly, pitch-for-pitch,” Sveum said. “A couple bloopers there in the last inning cost us the win there.”

Jose Tabata led off the first inning with a triple and scored on a wild pitch, and Sanchez doubled the lead when he homered in the fourth.

NOTES: Pittsburgh LF Starling Marte, who has not had a plate appearance since Aug. 18 because of a bruised right hand, is to take batting practice Monday and could be in the lineup Tuesday against San Diego. ... Cubs RHP Scott Baker is slated to make his final start of the season Friday against Atlanta. Manager Dale Sveum has decided not to tinker with his six-man rotation, even though Baker has allowed only one run, five hits and one walk in 11 innings in his first two starts since returning from elbow ligament surgery. ... The Pirates open a four-game home series Monday night against San Diego, while the Cubs open a four-game series at Milwaukee against the Brewers. Pirates RHP A.J. Burnett will start against RHP Andrew Cashner (9-8, 3.40). Chicago RHP Edwin Jackson (8-15, 4.76) faces RHP Wily Peralta (9-15, 4.49).

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pitt ends its spring practices

    No tailgating.
    No trip to a local high school.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • track_B1 WestPAC relays go to Windber boys, Berlin girls

    Rain showers and dropping temperatures put a damper on Monday’s WestPAC Relays at Berlin Brothersvalley High School.
    For the Berlin girls and the boys from Windber, however, discomfort was not much of a factor.
    The Mountaineers won their third straight relay title while the Ramblers reclaimed the title from defending champ Shade.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

AP Sports Video
Poll

Should the NFL get rid of the extra-point attempt after a touchdown?

Yes
No
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow