PITTSBURGH -- Francisco Liriano seemed to turn back the hands of time.
The Pirates left-hander pitched Wednesday night as he did during his scintillating rookie season of 2006, allowing just two hits over seven shutout innings, and Pittsburgh edged the Chicago Cubs 1-0 at PNC Park.
Liriano struck out nine and walked one. It was reminiscent of when he broke in with the Minnesota Twins seven years ago and posted a 12-3 record before succumbing to Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery.
Liriano has been trying to regain that form ever since, and it looks like it might be happening with the Pirates, who signed him as a free agent in the offseason.
Tony Watson and Mark Melancon finished the four-hit shutout with one inning each. Melancon recorded his first save of the season, getting Darwin Barney to pop out with runners on first and second to end the game.
After beginning the season on the disabled list with a broken right arm, Liriano has won all three of his starts while posting a 1.00 ERA. He allowed just two runs and 14 hits in 18 innings while striking out 25 and walking six.
Jeff Samardjiza (2-6) lost for the first time in five career decisions against Pittsburgh despite allowing only one run and three hits in seven innings. He had eight strikeouts and one walk.
Andrew McCutchen had two of the Pirates' three hits with a pair of doubles and scored the game's lone run. Welington Castillo had two of Chicago's four hits.
The Pirates (28-18) won for the 10th time in their last 12 games as they moved a season-high 10 games over .500. The Cubs (18-27) lost their third straight game.
Pittsburgh got the game-deciding run in the first inning when McCutchen doubled with one out and scored on Garrett Jones' single.
The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs in the third, but Liriano escaped the jam by getting Julio Borbon to hit into a fielder's choice groundout, striking out Starlin Castro and retiring Anthony Rizzo on a fly ball.
NOTES: Chicago placed RHP Shawn Camp on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised right big toe and recalled RHP Rafael Dolis from Triple-A Iowa. The move with Camp came a day after he gave up a grand slam to Pittsburgh OF Travis Snider that proved to be the difference in the Pirates' 5-4 victory Tuesday night. ... Pirates RHP Jason Grilli, who leads the National League with 18 saves, was unavailable for Wednesday's game and may also not be able to pitch Thursday after needing 34 pitches to pitch the ninth inning Tuesday night. ... Pittsburgh RHP Charlie Morton (Tommy John surgery in June 2012) will make two rehab starts with Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday and May 31, then be re-evaluated. ... Cubs RHP Edwin Jackson (1-6, 5.76 ERA) will start Thursday afternoon against RHP Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.78) in the finale of the three-game series.