ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez homered, Francisco Liriano pitched 6 2/3 solid innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-1 on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
The win was the Pirates' third in a row and fourth in six games on their trip to Cincinnati and Anaheim. They moved within two games of first-place St. Louis in the National League Central.
Liriano (6-3) held the Angels scoreless through six innings, then gave up an RBI single to Mike Trout with two outs in the seventh. Liriano allowed the one run with seven hits and three walks while striking out six.
Angels starter Jerome Williams (5-3), taking the place of injured Jason Vargas in the rotation, hadn't started a game in 10 days and didn't appear sharp. He gave up five runs (four earned) and eight hits in six innings, including the home runs to Alvarez and McCutchen.
The Pirates had 10 hits in all, including two each from Alvarez, Sanchez, Jordy Mercer and Neil Walker. Alvarez now has 18 home runs and has hit in seven consecutive games.
Alberto Callaspo and J.B. Shuck had two hits apiece for the Angels, who never mounted much of an offensive threat in the game.
Pirates relievers Bryan Morris and Justin Wilson kept the Angels' bats quiet for the final 2 1/3 innings to close out the win.
Just like he did one night earlier, Alvarez led off the second inning with a home run -- this one No. 18 for the season. Also like Friday, the Pirates added two more runs in the inning for a 3-0 lead. Mercer had an RBI single and Russell Martin walked with the bases loaded to force in a run.
The Pirates increased their lead to 4-0 in the fourth when Walker doubled and scored on a single by Travis Snider. In the fifth, McCutchen hit his eight homer of the year for a 5-0 Pirates lead.
Liriano, meanwhile, worked his way out of a couple of early inning jams and got a boost from his defense along the way. The Angels had runners on first and second with one out in the fourth when Erick Aybar singled to left field. Howie Kendrick was waved home by third-base coach Dino Ebel, but left fielder Sterling Marte threw a perfect one-hop strike to Martin to nail Kendrick at the plate.
The Angels still had a chance to break through when Chris Iannetta followed with a walk that loaded the bases. But Liriano struck out Shuck to end the inning.
NOTES: Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole made 88 pitches in 6 1/3 innings of his start Friday against the Angels. Seven of them were clocked at 100 mph and another -- to Callaspo in the third inning -- reached 101 mph. Most of the 100 mph pitchers came early in the game, but he did hit 100 on a pitch to Trout in the sixth inning. ... Angels CF Peter Bourjos was moved to the leadoff spot against the Pirates for the 18th game this season. In his first 17 games batting leadoff, Bourjos hit .328 (22 for 67), compared with .345 (19 for 55) hitting in the seventh, eighth and ninth spots. ... Angels RHP Ernesto Frieri has retired 22 batters in a row, including 12 by strikeout, covering eight innings. He is 17 of 18 in save opportunities, the only blown save coming April 29, when he gave up a ninth-inning run to Oakland that tied the score in a game the A's eventually won in 19 innings. ... McCutchen went into the game hitting .458 (33 for 72) with four homers and 18 RBIs in his last 18 interleague games. Against teams from the American League West, McCutchen was hitting .545 (12 for 22).