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LAD@PIT: Liriano fans four Dodgers in dominant outing

Pirates starter Francisco Liriano is aiming to build off his best start of the season and keep the Pirates' momentum going against the Giants on Tuesday.

Against the Dodgers on Wednesday, Liriano went seven innings and gave up only one run on four hits.

"I see confidence building, and the rhythm and pace is better," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Slider and changeup are shaping up better, so I think he's heading in the right direction."

Since returning from a left oblique injury July 13, Liriano has had arguably his best stretch of the season.

Liriano is 1-1 in those three games with a 2.25 ERA. Opponents are batting only .175 against him, and he is averaging a strikeout per inning.

Lirano said he is working on going deeper into games. His outing against the Dodgers was only the third time he has pitched seven innings this season.

"Everything is coming together, just got to keep working," Liriano said. "Have to keep working on location. ... Go deep in games, not at the point I want to be yet, but everything is getting better."

Said Hurdle: "You look at his record, and then you look at the record in games that he's started. Everybody has a perfect recipe for how to do it, but quite often that perfect recipe doesn't come into play. ... We got some guys that are getting us deep in games with more consistency than any other time that I've been here."

Liriano will face Giants starter Tim Hudson, who is also riding a recent hot streak.

Since the A's tagged him for six runs in 5 1/3 innings July 10, Hudson has a 0.68 ERA in his last two outings.

Hudson, who is having a resurgent season after missing the final two months of 2013 with a right ankle injury, has faced the Pirates once this season. Despite pitching a complete game, Hudson was saddled with the loss after Sterling Marte scored on an error after hitting a two-out triple in the ninth inning.

Giants: Home not so sweet of late
AT&T Park may be one of the most scenic ballparks in Major League Baseball, but lately it's been a house of horrors for the home team.

The Giants are 6-19 in their last 25 home games. The only team worse in that span is the injury-wracked Rangers, who are 4-15 at home in their last 19.

The Giants have lost eight of their last nine home series, including a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers last weekend in arguably the biggest series of the season thus far.

The main cause of the home woes: an anemic offense averaging only 2.5 runs in 12 July home games, and now the Giants are in danger of losing yet another home set after dropping Monday's opener to the Pirates, 5-0.

Pirates: Martin showcases throwing arm
The Giants' slumping offense tried to manufacture a run in the bottom of the sixth Monday night, but catcher Russell Martin put a stop to that.

Center fielder Gregor Blanco singled to lead off the inning and attempted to steal second, but Martin made a quick throw to shortstop Jordy Mercer, who applied the tag to end the inning.

Martin is currently fourth in the Major Leagues in caught-stealing percentage among catchers who have caught 50 or more games.

Martin's .381 caught-stealing mark sits behind only the Cardinals' Yadier Molina, who leads the league at .486, the Yankees' Brian McCann and the Rangers' Robinson Chirinos.

Worth noting
• The Giants are two games behind the Dodgers in the National League West, which is their largest deficit of the season. Comments