Francisco Liriano. That is all. Really, that is all you need to know. Liriano actually didn't have his best stuff. When pitchers don't have their best stuff they usually give up some hits and a few runs and keep the team relatively in the game. All Liriano did was take his not best stuff and hurl seven innings where he gave up two (yes, two) hits. He did walk five guys but struck out six and really gave the Rockies no chance. Granted, Colorado isn't a great team but the Pirates haven't played great baseball the past couple of games but Frank was the stopper and the Pirates got back on the winning ways.
The offense picked it up with 11 hits and five runs and really made it hard on Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa. In the first inning de la Rosa threw like 35 pitches but the Pirates weren't able to score and while they didn't score they were able to slowly force the Rockies to quit through submission. The Pirates scored a run in each of the third through seventh inning and while they didn't land that knockout inning what they did was just as good.
Starling Marte had a hit and walked (!!!!) but what he did on the bases was more important than anything, including his ten pitch at bat to start the game. Any time Marte was on base he was liable to steal a base and that bothered de la Rosa. He was more worried about Marte on first base than he was about the batter and Marte was still able to swipe a pair of bases. de la Rosa was visibly frustrated and I don't doubt that threw him off his game for those moments, which helped the Pirates.
Neil Walker didn't have a hit on the night and reached base by getting hit one time but the play of the game might have been a double play he turned in the eighth inning when the Pirates had already given up two runs (when they were up 5-0 to start) and Bryan Morris had runners on first and second with one out. It looked like the start of danger zone but Morris got a ground ball to Jordy Mercer who flipped to Walker who hung in with a base runner right on top of him he stood in there, too the hit and turned the double play. If he didn't turn the DP the Pirates probably still win but that was a huge play that doesn't show up in the box score. It needs to be talked about.
Jose Tabata? All he did was go 3-for-4 with a single, triple, and home run. You know, no big deal. Most of the time if you ask someone about Tabata they will tell you that he isn't having a good season but this year he has actually been pretty good. Granted he's missed a chunk of time but right now he's right around a .345 OBP with a 9% walk rate and a 14% K rate. I will absolutely take that. I think Tabata gets overlooked because a good deal of his hits and of the infield variety but his biggest knock over the years is that he just can't stay healthy. I don't think Tabata is an everyday guy but just like Gaby Sanchez I often think he gets overlooked for the value he can bring to the team. Now you aren't going to get production like this from him all that often but so far this season he has been pretty good.
The Pirates have a chance to win the series tomorrow with A.J. Burnett on the bump. While many were hoping for a sweep all you can really ask is for a series win. The Pirates keep winning series and the season is going to continue to be great and not dreadful like the past two.