(The Sports Xchange) - Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run home run while Francisco Liriano allowed only three hits in six innings, lifting the Pirates to a 7-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.
The victory was Pittsburgh’s 82nd of the year, ensuring they would have their third successive winning season after having none for the previous 20.
“It is tangible evidence of us being in a better place,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
”We had 20 consecutive losing seasons as an organization. I was here for two of them. I felt the angst of the city and the fan base.
“We talked about creating a new sense of direction and history.”
Liriano (10-7) issued one walk, struck out 10 and also went 2-for-3 with a double and run scored.
“I was able to locate my fastball better and throwing my breaking ball for strike two helped,” Liriano said.
“They have a pretty good lineup. Just went out and tried to execute pitches. Changeup was working pretty good.”
Third baseman Kang Jung Ho hit a solo homer and Starling Marte went 3-for-5 with a double and run scored for the National League wild-card leading Pirates (82-55), who are 4-1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
Kang’s monster shot in the eighth off right-hander Collin Balester traveled an estimated 447 feet into the left-center field bleachers, putting the Pirates ahead 6-0.
Shortstop Eugenio Suarez tripled home two runs during a three-run ninth for Cincinnati.
Raisel Iglesias (3-7), who had a nightmare third inning, took the loss for Cincinnati (57-80).
The Pirates went ahead 1-0 in the third when Liriano doubled and scored on right fielder Gregory Polanco’s single to right.
McCutchen then smacked a three-run homer an estimated 404 feet to right field. It was McCutchen’s 21st homer this season.
Iglesias later committed a run-scoring balk, making it 5-0. He left after three innings, having allowed five runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts.
“I felt like it was just a bad inning, like any other pitcher can have,” said Iglesias of the third.
“I felt like I was missing my spots. I wanted to keep it down and make them miss, and they had some good swings.”
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury