By The Associated Press
Francisco Liriano pitched a four-hitter for his first complete game in more than 2 years, and the Pittsburgh Pirates won for the 11th time in 13 games, beating the Cubs 6-2 on Friday in Chicago.
Liriano (8-3) went the distance for the first time since he tossed a no-hitter for Minnesota against the White Sox on May 3, 2011. He struck out seven and walked four to improve to 5-1 in his last six starts. He also had an RBI single.
The Pirates, meanwhile, continue to roll along. They came in with the best record in the majors and a two-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central, and they had little trouble with Jeff Samardzija (5-8) and the Cubs.
Starling Marte had three hits, scored two runs and stole two bases for the Pirates.
Rays 8, White Sox 3: Jeremy Hellickson won his fourth consecutive start, Jose Molina had a two-run homer during a five-run second inning, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the White Sox in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Hellickson (8-3) gave up one run, six hits and struck out nine in seven innings, helping the Rays win for the sixth time in seven games. The right-hander was coming off a strong June in which he went 5-1.
Molina hit his two-run drive and the following batter, Kelly Johnson, connected for a solo shot three pitches later off Dylan Axelrod (3-5) to start the second-inning surge that saw the Rays go up 5-0.
Cardinals 4, Marlins 1: Jake Westbrook worked seven strong innings, and Allen Craig had two RBIs for a lineup that spoiled Jacob Turner’s homecoming early on in the Cardinals’ victory over the Miami Marlins in St. Louis.
Matt Holliday doubled twice with an RBI and Edward Mujica rebounded with the save for the Cardinals, who had lost eight of 11 and plummeted from the majors’ best record to second place in the NL Central entering a five-game home stand.
The Marlins totaled three hits and lost for just the third time in 11 games.
The hard-throwing Turner (2-1) surrendered four runs on seven hits in six innings.
Westbrook (5-3) was hurt only by Logan Morrison’s 440-foot homer to straightaway center leading off the second.