Francisco Liriano threw a four-hit complete game last night, helping the Pirates end a four-game losing streak. His performance kept scores of nervous Yinzers, panicked at the possibility of another late-season Pirates collapse, from racing to the Roberto Clemente Bridge and ending it all. Liriano threw just 94 pitches, giving the bullpen a much-needed night off. It just what the Buccos needed. But we really have to talk about his at-bat in the top of the ninth inning. Because it was fantastic.
Liriano saw four pitches from Randy Choate, and he never bothered to swing at any of them. But that's not the best part: Liriano also backed out of the batter's box each and every time. "This is certainly a time," announcer Bob Walk said after the first pitch, "he does not need to be getting on base." I mean, look at that. "Statue of Liberty play," play-by-play man Tim Neverett said when it was over. Liriano just tried so hard to make it look like he wasn't trying. And that's great hustle.
A career American Leaguer before coming to Pittsburgh, Liriano had only 17 big-league at-bats before this season, managing two hits. He's struck out 15 times in 41 plate appearances this season, but he's somehow got three hits. Liriano began the year on the DL, and back in April, in one of his plate appearances during a Triple-A rehab assignment, this happened:
That's right: Francisco Liriano once put a ball in play with a half-assed swing, didn't initially bother to run, and still managed to get on base. The man is an inspiration.