In seven innings pitched, Liriano was stellar, allowing four hits and no runs, striking out six and walking one. Baserunners were obviously few and far between for the A’s, and they failed to capitalize when they had men in scoring position in the first and third innings.
Their pitching faltered just as much as their offense tonight.
Tommy Milone has been consistently inconsistent this season, as evidenced by his 8-8 record, which, in order, goes like this: five wins, four losses, three wins, two losses, two wins, one loss.
So perhaps he is on the verge of one of his losing streaks after pitching just 2.2 innings on Wednesday night before being pulled.
Milone allowed three runs on seven hits, walking two batters and striking out two.
The Pirates had runners in scoring position in every inning that Milone pitched. He was able to escape the jams in the first and second, but did not survive the third.
After back-to-back doubles by Starlin Marte and Jose Tabata gave the Pirates their first run, Andrew McCutchen singled to score Tabata. Later in the inning, Pedro Alvarez drove in another run with a single, and Pittsburgh jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
The Pirates put up two more runs against Pat Neshek, who replaced Milone with two outs in the second inning.
One positive that the A’s can take way from this loss is the promising debut of top pitching prospect Sonny Gray, who was just called up from Triple-A Sacramento.
Gray pitched two innings in relief, and recorded three strikeouts, one hit, and threw 25 pitches. For now, the A’s want to keep him in the bullpen, but expect him to be joining the starting rotation sometime in the future.
The 23-year-old Gray was selected in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the A’s, and is 8-5 with a 2.81 ERA in 16 starts in the minors this season.
The A’s are now 54-38 after taking two out of three from the Pirates, and remain a half game ahead of the Rangers for first place in the AL West.
They will have an off-day on Thursday before welcoming in the Red Sox to the O.Co Coliseum on Friday.