PITTSBURGH -- Francisco Liriano took his fabulous comeback season -- don't forget, in a 2012 campaign split between the Twins and the White Sox, he went 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA -- to a new level with his Friday night gem against the Cardinals.
In blanking St. Louis on two hits for eight innings of the Bucs' 5-0 win, not only did the left-hander reach a new career high of 15 wins in a delayed season he didn't begin until May 11, but he had both historians and statisticians thumbing through their books.
• It was his fifth start of the season of at least seven innings and no more than two hits allowed. That is both a Major League season high (no one else can claim more than three such starts) and the most recorded (since 1916) by a Pittsburgh hurler.
• Liriano joined Vernon Law in 1950 as the only Pirates pitchers to make three starts and post three wins against the Cardinals with an ERA ceiling of 0.75. Law went 3-0 with a 0.68; Liriano is 3-0, 0.75.
• Liriano is holding hitters on the NL's top offensive club (.270) to an average of .127. Over the past 40 seasons, no pitcher with at least 24 innings has held St. Louis to a lower mark, with the previous low mark (.133) by Tom Seaver in 1978 and Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.
The Cardinals are averaging 9.4 hits in the 131 games in which have not had to face Liriano, who in three games against the Cards has given up 10 hits.
• And, in an ode to "missing" teammate Jeff Locke, Liriano matched the seven scoreless starts of the lefty now cooling his heels in Double-A Altoona for a couple of days. That number is tied for third most in the Majors behind the Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less