The Pirates got the best of a pitcher who has owned them for the better part of his career. And they got the best from their pitcher who has owned just about everybody this season.

Francisco Liriano pitched the team's first complete game of the season, and the Pirates pounded Jeff Samardzija to beat the Chicago Cubs, 6-2, Friday at Wrigley Field.

"This is an exclamation point to what he's been doing," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Liriano.
It was Liriano's first complete game since he pitched a no-hitter against the White Sox May 3, 2011 on the South Side of Chicago. It was the Pirates' first complete game since A.J. Burnett went the distance July 31, 2012, at Wrigley Field.

Liriano allowed two earned runs on four hits, walking four and striking out seven.

And he was efficient enough -- throwing 111 pitches -- to finish what he started against the Cubs (36-48).

"We asked him after the seventh, he said 'I'm good,' " Hurdle said. "We asked him after the eighth, he said 'I'm good.' We let him run out there and get it done."

With his eighth win of the season, Liriano (8-3) moves into a tie with Jeff Locke (8-1) for the team lead. But all of Liriano's victories have come since May 11, when he made his season debut after missing more than a month while recovering from a broken bone in his right, non-throwing arm.

Since his return, he has been a different pitcher than the one that struggled with the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox over the past several seasons. He has credited a tweaked arm slot for giving him more control, but he said Friday he also has embraced a new mentality on the mound.

"I think in the past, what got me into trouble is every time I had men on base, I'd want to do too much," Liriano said. "I'd try to overthrow and try to be nastier than I was. That didn't work for me. Now, I'm just trying to come and hit my spots."

Instead of firing his fastball whenever he gets in trouble, Liriano is turning more to his off-speed pitches, which he has been able to command well this season.