Francisco Liriano strikes out 11 over six innings

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Pirates starter Francisco Liriano struck out 11 batters over six innings in a tough luck loss to the Reds tonight. The 29-year-old lefty had always shown signs of promise but due to injuries and his own inconsistencies, he was never able to keep it together for more than a season at a time. With just the one run surrendered to the Reds on four hits and a walk, Liriano’s ERA fell to 2.17, helping make Pirates GM Neal Huntington look like a genius for grabbing him for a meager $1 million salary.

The Pirates have the fourth-best starting rotation ERA in the National League at 3.41, trailing the Cardinals, Reds, and Nationals.

Video: Matt Carpenter makes history with three home runs, two doubles

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
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Matt Carpenter pulled his weight and then some during the Cardinals’ 18-5 win on Friday, becoming just the second player in MLB history to tally three home runs and two doubles in the same game… and the first-ever to do so in the first six innings of a single game.

Carpenter wasted little time getting the Cardinals on the board, first drawing a full count against Cubs lefty Jon Lester, then ricocheting a 92.4-MPH fastball off the scoreboard in right field for a leadoff home run. He returned in the second inning for another two-run shot and capped a seven-run spread in the fifth with an RBI double (his first double of the game was a leadoff hit in the fourth) before polishing off his performance with a third, three-run homer in the sixth.

Following Friday’s explosive five-run, seven-RBI performance, Carpenter is now batting .274/.381/.576 on the year with 23 home runs, 30 doubles and a .957 OPS in 388 PA. The last player to record five extra-base hits in one game was the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, who collected four runs and six RBI for the team back in June 2016. As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch pointed out, Carpenter might have set another franchise record for most home runs in a game had interim manager Mike Shildt not removed him from the game in the bottom of the sixth. The record is still held by former club outfielder Mark Whiten, who collected four home runs (and a staggering 12 RBI) against the Reds in September 1993.