08/19 21:09 CDT Braves jump on Liriano in 11-3 win over Pirates
Braves jump on Liriano in 11-3 win over Pirates
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) --- Justin Upton smashed his 24th home run of the season to
spoil Andrew McCutchen's return as the Atlanta Braves beat the Pittsburgh
Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.
Upton's three-run homer off Francisco Liriano (3-10) in the third broke things
open early. He added a two-run single off reliever Brandon Cumpton in the fifth
as the Braves extended Pittsburgh's losing streak to a season-high seven games.
Jason Heyward went 2 for 5 with three RBI for the Braves while Evan Gattis hit
his 19th homer. Atlanta has won five straight.
Aaron Harang (10-7) struck out four without a walk in 8 1-3 innings.
McCutchen went 0 for 4 in his first game back after missing two weeks with
fractured cartilage in his ribs. The reigning National League MVP left the game
after grounding into a double play in the bottom of the eighth.
Travis Snider, Starling Marte and Russell Martin had two hits apiece for the
The Pirates went 5-9 without their superstar center fielder, who went to the
15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 4 after injuring himself while
swinging on a routine sacrifice fly against Arizona. He received a standing
ovation when he made his first plate appearance but was caught looking at a
fastball from Harang that caught the outside corner.
It marked the start of another forgettable night for the Pirates, who matched
their longest losing streak since dropping seven in a row from Sept. 7-14,
2012. That skid came in the middle of a late freefall that sent them tumbling
out of playoff contention after a promising summer.
While Pittsburgh is slipping, the Braves are surging behind Upton, who is
hitting .382 (13 for 34) with four homers during his 10-game hitting streak.
Atlanta already led 1-0 in the third when Liriano --- who came in with a 2.15
ERA since the All-Star break --- allowed singles by Phil Gosselin and Freddie
Freeman to start the inning. Upton sent a lined shot over the wall in left to
make it 4-0 and the Braves kept piling on.
Heyward drove home B.J. Upton in the fourth and Liriano's control disappeared
completely in the fifth. Chris Johnson reached on an error, Gattis singled and
Andrelton Simmons walked to load the bases. B.J. Upton singled home Johnson and
Heyward plated a pair with a sharp single to right off Cumpton.
Liriano gave up nine runs, seven earned, in four-plus innings. He walked three
and struck out four while his ERA rose from 3.78 to 4.18.
It was more than enough support for Harang, whose only real trouble came in the
ninth when he failed to get through his first complete game since June 11, 2013
while pitching for the Seattle Mariners.
Braves: After failing to retire a single batter against Charlotte in an
International League game on Wednesday night, rehabbing right-handed reliever
Shae Simmons will make a third appearance for Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday.
Simmons, who has been on the disabled list since July 27 with a strained right
shoulder, pitched one scoreless inning in his first outing last Saturday
Pirates: Shortstop Clint Barmes was given a night off in Triple-A Indianapolis
as he recovers from a strained left groin that has sidelined him since late
June. The 35-year-old Barmes went 0 for 3 in his first game with the Indians on
Braves: Alex Wood (9-9, 3.07 ERA) goes for his third straight victory on
Wednesday for Atlanta. The 23-year-old has a 1.45 ERA over his last six starts
but remains at .500 on the season because he receives the second-lowest run
support in the majors.
Pirates: Ace-in-training Gerrit Cole (7-4, 3.78 ERA) returns from his second
stint on the disabled list on Wednesday. Cole hasn't pitched in the majors
since being sidelined by right lat soreness on July 9. He pitches seven
scoreless innings for Triple-A Indianapolis last Friday. Cole is 4-1 in his
last five decisions. He will be making his first career start against Atlanta.