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Cubs stymied by NL-best Pirates, Francisco Liriano

Pittsburgh Pirates starter Francisco Liriano throws against Chicago Cubs during first inning baseball game Chicago Friday July 5 2013. (AP

Pittsburgh Pirates starter Francisco Liriano throws against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Friday, July 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: July 5, 2013 11:19PM



The Pittsburgh Pirates improved on their National League-best standing Friday with a 6-2 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. In the process, they recorded their first seven-game road victory streak since 2002.

The Cubs and Jeff Samardzija (5-8) had a 2-1 lead in the second inning on Scott Hairston’s two-run homer off Francisco Liriano (8-3). But it was all they could muster against the veteran left-hander, who went the distance.

The Pirates (53-32) improved to 25-13 against NL Central opponents, including 7-3 against the Cubs.

Samardzija defeated the Pirates at PNC Park on Opening Day but has lost three times to them since.

He worked six innings Friday, giving up five runs, nine hits and five walks (one intentional) with only three strikeouts.

The game began a 10-game stay for the Cubs in Chicago until the All-Star break, including a makeup game Monday against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. They were coming off a 5-4 road trip and trying to begin a climb to .500 at home, where they now are 17-23.

“For what we’ve got, we’ve been pretty decent on the road,” manager Dale Sveum said. “We have to win these games at home. We have a tough stretch here. We have to take advantage of being home and win some of these games.”

The Cubs had only three hits off Liriano through seven innings. Starlin Castro doubled in the eighth with two outs for the fourth hit, but he got picked off second as he attempted to get a lead with two strikes on Dioner Navarro.

Liriano walked four but struck out seven.



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