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Francisco Liriano strikes out 11 as Pirates move into playoff position

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Thearon W. Henderson

Francisco Liriano used a filthy changeup to dominate the Giants Tuesday, striking out 11 en route to a 3-1 Pirates win.

It was a great win in more ways than one -- not only did Liriano look like his 2013 self, but the Giants (obviously), Brewers and Cardinals all lost, moving the Pirates a bit closer to a playoff berth. Atlanta, a potential Wild Card competitor, is down three runs in the late innings. The Bucs currently control the second Wild Card berth.

Josh Harrison led off the game with a homer, and the Pirates grabbed two more runs in the second inning when Ike Davis singled and Travis Snider homered.

Mike Morse led off the bottom of the second with a homer, but that's all the offense the Giants would get. After that it was all Liriano ... and, yeah -- it was one sexy changeup after another, with tons of swings and misses. He also walked just one batter. Sometimes one great start is just one great start, but if Liriano can pitch anything like this down the stretch, he's going to be very tough to deal with. That's great news for a team that has tread water at times this season as Liriano dealt with control problems and injury issues.