Francisco Liriano pitches a gem, blanks Cardinals over eight innings

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Francisco Liriano was down on his luck when the Pirates signed him to a one-year, $1 million deal in February. He was coming off a year in which he posted a combined 5.34 ERA with the Twins and White Sox, the third time in four seasons he had posted an ERA in the fives.

Liriano made his season debut with the Pirates on May 11 and has looked like the ace many envisioned him becoming back in 2006 when he finished third in AL Rookie of the Year balloting. That continued tonight in an important game against the division rival Cardinals, entering the night with a tenuous one-game lead over the second-place Pirates. First baseman Garrett Jones gave his pitcher a ton of support, going 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI, but just his two-run double in the first inning would have sufficed as Liriano was dominant from the outset.

Liriano tossed eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out six. The Cardinals never once had a runner in scoring position against Liriano. Mark Melancon danced around a pair of base runners in the ninth to nail down the 5-0 victory. The 78-56 Cardinals and Pirates enter into a first place tie atop the NL Central. The two clubs have five more games against each other through the remainder of the regular season.

Marlins sign Cameron Maybin

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Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the Marlins have signed free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin.

Maybin spent the 2017 season with the Angels and Astros, putting up a line of .228/.318/.365 in 450 plate appearances and appearing at least briefly in the World Series for Houston. That’s not the greatest batting line in the world, but he stole 33 bases in 114 games, so he has his value. Maybe more to fantasy players than a real baseball team, but the fact remains that if you don’t have three guys in the outfield, you’re gonna give up a lot of triples. Maybin will definitely be one of the guys in the outfield, at least part of the time.

This will be Maybin’s second tour of duty with the Marlins, having first come to them in 2007 in the famous — infamous, if you’re a Marlins fan — Miguel Cabrera trade. Maybin spent three seasons with the Marlins in that go-around.