Pirates end 1st half with 6-3 loss

Joe Robbins

Francisco Liriano struggled in his return from the disabled list as the Pirates finished their first half with a 6-3 loss to the Reds.

Liriano allowed three runs in four innings and might have even allowed zero if Kristopher Negron's blast with two on and tow outs in the second hadn't cleared the fence in right (or perhaps if Chris Heisey's fly ball hadn't fallen in for a double earlier in the inning). To frame the game this way dramatically understates how bad Liriano was, however -- he walked six and constantly had runners on base. His velocity was there, but his control wasn't.

The Pirates got one back in the fifth, but Stolmy Pimentel replaced Liriano after a rain delay and immediately allowed a walk and a double that made it 4-2. Pimentel got out of the inning with only one more walk despite having serious troubles finding the strike zone, getting a nice boost when the Reds made an out at the plate a squeeze play that Negron couldn't get his bat on because the ball was so far out of the zone.

Neil Walker homered in the sixth, but Vance Worley entered in relief in the bottom of the inning and gave up a two-run homer to Todd Frazier. Reds relievers then got nine straight outs in the seventh through ninth, with Aroldis Chapman striking out the side in the last inning to get the save.

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