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Liriano, late runs help Pirates sweep Giants

Jun 4, 2015 - 3:26 AM San Francisco, CA ( - Francisco Liriano threw seven strong innings and the Pirates swept the Giants on the road for the first time in almost eight years.

Liriano gave up just one run on four hits and a walk and Pittsburgh held on to beat San Francisco 5-2 in the finale of a three-game series on Wednesday afternoon.

Jordy Mercer hit a solo homer for a 2-1 Pirates lead in the fifth inning and they tacked on three runs in the ninth, which ended up being the difference after the Giants scratched together a run in their last at-bat.

Liriano (3-4) has won three of his four career starts against the Giants, but the Pirates had been just 2-8 in the left-hander's first 10 outings this year.

They completed their fifth sweep this season and first in San Francisco since Aug. 10-12, 2007. They are 11-2 in their last 13 overall.

The teams will play a four-game series in Pittsburgh from Aug. 20-23 -- the Giants' first visit to the city since Madison Bumgarner threw a shutout in the NL wild card game last October on the way to a World Series title.

"It's a new year, so you kind of put that stuff behind you," said Mercer. "I think we enjoy playing these guys because of our history. So to sweep here is nice, especially at their place."

Giants starter Tim Hudson (3-5) also went seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk. He fell to 6-9 in 16 career starts against Pittsburgh, one of just six teams he has a losing record against in his 17-year career.

San Francisco has lost five in a row on the heels of a 13-2 stretch.

Hunter Strickland, who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the Giants, was charged with two of the three runs Pittsburgh scored in the ninth. Francisco Cervelli hit an RBI single after pinch-runner Starling Marte stole second and moved up on a bad throw and Jung Ho Kang stroked a pinch-hit two-run double off Sergio Romo to make it 5-1.

The Giants then loaded the bases against Rob Scahill on three one-out singles by Andrew Susac, Gregor Blanco and Brandon Belt.

A run scored on Brandon Crawford's groundout off Mark Melancon, but Nori Aoki also grounded out to end the game and give Melancon his 16th save.

"They're a hot team," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "They pitch well and get timely hits. Today we just couldn't mount much of an offense against a tough pitcher. It was good that we had the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning, but we ran into a hot club."

Hudson was hit on the right knee by a Mercer line drive in the third inning. He recovered to make the toss to first base and threw a few practice pitches off the mound before play resumed.

There was another injury delay in the bottom of the inning after Pirates left fielder Jose Tabata crashed into the wall trying to catch Hudson's two-out drive to the warning track.

Tabata also remained in the game but Hudson made it to second on a ground-rule double and scored after back-to-back singles by Aoki and Joe Panik. Aoki was later thrown out trying to steal third base, ending the inning.

Pittsburgh tied the score with three singles in the fourth, including Tabata's RBI hit to score Andrew McCutchen. Mercer then hit a leadoff blast to left in the fifth, his second homer of the season.

Game Notes

Liriano had six strikeouts after getting 23 over his previous two starts ... McCutchen was 1-for-3 with a run scored and is batting .480 (24-for-50) over his last 14 games ... The Pirates are 5-2 on a 10-game road trip that ends in Atlanta starting Friday ... The Giants finished 2-5 on their homestand against Atlanta and Pittsburgh and will go on the road for six in a row beginning Friday in Philadelphia.