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Updated: October 6th, 2013 10:26pm
Francisco Liriano solid Sunday through six innings in Pirates NLDS win

Francisco Liriano solid Sunday through six innings in Pirates NLDS win

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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After blowout game in the first two games of the National League Division Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals played a close contest Sunday. The Pirates won, 5-3, to take a 2-1 series lead.

Francisco Liriano started for the Bucs, but he was not nearly as dominant as he had been in several prior starts. Still, the former Twins lefty turned in a solid outing, and the bullpen took care of the rest.

Liriano was good enough to get through six innings with just three hits and two walks allowed. He permitted two earned runs and struck out five batters. At the plate, he also drew a walk in the second inning and sacrifice bunted in the fifth.

Five days ago, Liriano was dazzling in the Pirates first playoff win since 1992. This season for Pittsburgh, Liriano went 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 161 innings. He exhibited his lethal combination of pitches that Twins fans will remember well. For the year, he threw about 41 percent fastballs and 22 percent changeups, according to Fangraphs.

But what makes him at times unhittable is that slider, which he threw a whopping 36 percent of his total pitches this season, and which disappears to left-handed hitters.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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