Bucs snap four-game losing streak

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Pirates finally figured out a way to solve the Oakland A’s early Thursday morning.

The Pirates waited out a lengthy rain delay, scored three times in the third inning and went on to beat Oakland, 5-0, in a game that ended at 12:48 a.m. at PNC Park. The game didn’t start until close to 10 p.m. after a rain delay of nearly three hours.

The Pirates had never beaten the A’s prior to this victory, as Oakland had gone 11-0 all-time head to head in interleague play. Not only did that streak come to an end, the Pirates also snapped a skid that had seen them lose four in a row and six out of eight.

The Pirates took control early, scoring three runs in the third inning for a 3-0 lead against A’s starter Tommy Milone (8-8).

Starling Marte led off with a double to left and scored on Jose Tabata’s double to center. Andrew McCutchen singled home Tabata, and Pedro Alvarez later singled home Russell Martin for the early three-run lead.

The Pirates added two more runs in the fourth, again with Alvarez coming through with a key hit. Tabata reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a single by Martin, then Alvarez singled to bring home McCutchen for a 5-0 lead.

Francisco Liriano (9-3) continued his stellar season and lowered his ERA to 2.00 by tossing seven shutout innings. Liriano allowed only four hits, struck out six and walked one.

Liriano is now second in the National League in ERA, trailing only the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (1.89).

The Pirates had scored only six runs total during their four-game losing streak but managed nearly that many in the victory. The top of the batting order did most of the damage as Marte, Tabata and McCutchen had two hits apiece, while Alvarez had two hits and two RBIs batting fifth.