for this game

Pirates hold off slumping Nationals

Jul 25, 2013 - 5:17 AM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Michael McKenry's two-run single in the top of the ninth proved to be the difference, as the Pittsburgh Pirates held off the Washington Nationals, 4-2, in the third contest of a four-game series.

Francisco Liriano (10-4) tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings for Pittsburgh, allowing just two hits while striking out eight and walking three.

Pedro Alvarez hit a solo homer for the Pirates, who have won four in a row. Neil Walker had an RBI and a run scored.

Washington starter Stephen Strasburg (5-8) gave up one run on two hits while striking out a season-high 12 batters over eight innings.

Jayson Werth hit a two-run homer for Washington, which has lost six straight.

"I don't really care about my wins and losses as a pitcher, I just care about our team winning games. I think its time where our backs are against the wall and we just have to start doing what it takes," Strasburg said.

Alvarez's homer to right-center field in the second gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.

Liriano kept that lead intact by allowing just two walks over the first five innings. Liriano's bid for the second no-hitter of his career came to an end with two outs in the sixth, when Anthony Rendon hit an infield single to third. Alvarez dove to his left to stop the ball, but it popped out of his glove.

"It was too early in the game to start thinking about it," Liriano said of the no-hit bid. "I just wanted to give our guys a chance to win the ball game. I was just taking it one hitter at a time and one inning at a time."

The left-hander gave up his second hit of the contest in the eighth, when Steve Lombardozzi led off with a single up the middle. Lombardozzi moved to second on pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki's sacrifice bunt. Scott Hairston struck out looking before Justin Wilson replaced Liriano. Rendon fouled out to end the inning.

The Pirates tacked on three key runs in the ninth. Drew Storen gave up a leadoff single to Starling Marte, who scored on Walker's double to left-center field. Alvarez was intentionally walked around a pair of outs. Fernando Abad came in from the bullpen and hit pinch-hitter Jose Tabata on the right arm. McKenry followed with a two-run single to left, making it 4-0.

Washington responded with two runs in the bottom half. With Wilson still on the mound, Ryan Zimmerman led off with a single. Werth followed with a homer to right. Mark Melancon got Adam LaRoche to go down swinging for the first out of the inning. Wilson Ramos kept the Nationals alive with a single, but Denard Span grounded into a double play. Melancon picked up his third save of the season.

Game Notes

Each team had five hits ... Strasburg fell to 2-1 in four career starts versus the Pirates ... In two-career home starts against the Pirates, Strasburg has struck out 26 batters without issuing a walk ... Liriano threw a no-hitter for the Twins against the White Sox on May 3, 2011.