How well are things going for the Pittsburgh Pirates? Just check out the no-look, between-the-legs grab by Francisco Liriano in the ninth inning of their 6-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon.
There's your answer.
The incredible play helped Liriano punctuate the Pirates first complete game of the season, which is difficult to believe considering the pitching success they've enjoyed to this point. For Liriano, it was only the second complete game in 152 career starts. The first, of course, was a his no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox back on May 3, 2011 as a member of the Minnesota Twins.
After the Cubs touched him for two runs on Scott Hairston's second inning home run, the 29-year-old left-hander had to buckle down and battle hard to finish it off. When all was said and done, Liriano walked four, allowed four hits and struck out seven on a season-high 111 pitches.
Had it not been for the marvelous snag that started the ninth inning, manager Clint Hurdle likely would have been motivated to take the ball out of Liriano's hand and give it to one of his relievers. As it was, Liriano made the play and then breezed through the next two hitters to finish it off. Through 12 starts after returning from a broken right arm suffered while playing with his kids on Christmas Day, he's 8-3 with a 2.20.
Indeed, things are going quite well for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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