Francisco Liriano dominated the Phillies Thursday night, leading the Pirates to an easy 4-1 win that put them eight games above .500.
The Pirates grabbed a run in the second when Russell Martin singled, Starling Marte reached on an HBP on an offspeed pitch by A.J. Burnett, and Ike Davis knocked an RBI single. (Marte later left the game with discomfort in his hand, an apparent result of the HBP. He sat in the dugout later and appeared not to be too concerned, for whatever that's worth.)
The Bucs finally built a big lead in the sixth, as Travis Snider led off with a single, then moved to third on Andrew McCutchen's double. Snider then scored on a double by Neil Walker. McCutchen didn't come around from second somehow, but he scored as Martin, the next batter, hit a sacrifice fly. Gregory Polanco then brought home Walker with a chopper that got through the infield.
Liriano, meanwhile, piled up 12 strikeouts over eight innings, getting tons of swings and misses with his slider. The start marked the sixth time since July 18 Liriano has had eight strikeouts or more, and he's allowed more than two runs in a start only once since July 13. The Phillies grabbed a run when Jared Hughes put two runners on in the ninth, but whatever -- Liriano was dominant, and if the Pirates face a team that's at all vulnerable to lefties in the Wild Card game, it's looking more and more like he should make the start for them yet again.