Francisco Liriano spun seven shutout innings to help the Pittsburgh Pirates blank the Chicago Cubs, 2-0, in the first of a three-game set at Wrigley Field.
Despite walking five batters, Liriano (4-2) allowed just two hits while striking out eight to snap a three-game losing streak for the Buccos. The lefty has pitched superb since missing the first six weeks of the season with a fractured forearm, allowing one or no runs in five of his six outings.
Russell Martin finished 2-for-3 with an RBI, ending a four game hitless drought. Travis Snider drove in the other run.
"It was one of those days when you're missing your spots. I was missing with everything," Liriano admitted. "But you have to compete to the end. And (Martin) called a great game."
Travis Wood (5-4) pitched well in defeat, yielding just one run on four hits with six strikeouts over six frames.
Wood was cruising, until the sixth inning.
Jordy Mercer hit a one-out double to left field and moved to third on an Andrew McCutchen fly out. Following a walk Gaby Sanchez that put runners on the corners with two outs, Martin delivered an RBI double to score the first run of the game.
"I got the outs when I needed," Wood said, "except the one that really counted."
The Cubs had a chance to score in the fifth after Liriano surrendered his first hit of the game to Wood. With runners on second and third with two outs, Anthony Rizzo looked at three straight strikes to end the threat.
The Pirates added an insurance run in the ninth off Cubs reliever Carlos Villanueva.
Martin worked a lead-off walk and was followed by a Pedro Alvarez single that moved him to third. Following a strikeout, Snider grounded into a fielder's choice to double the lead.
It took Jason Grilli a little longer than usual to pick up his league leading 23rd save of the season. After striking out the first two batters in the ninth, he allowed consecutive singles before fanning Darwin Barney to secure the win.