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Date of game: 9/22/2014

Recap: Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh

Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Francisco Liriano pitched six strong innings and Andrew McCutchen hit a solo home run to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves to open a four-game set.

Liriano (7-10) allowed three hits and four walks while striking out seven for the Pirates, who have won seven of their last eight games.

Pittsburgh stayed 2 1/2 games back of St. Louis for first place in the NL Central as the Cardinals defeated the Cubs on Monday. The Pirates are also tied with San Francisco for the top wild card spot, five games ahead of Milwaukee.

Aaron Harang (11-12) took the hard-luck loss as he gave up just the home run along with four hits and a pair of walks while striking out seven over seven innings for the Braves, who have lost nine of their last 10.

"He's been around for a while now and has probably seen a lot of stuff," said Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez about Harang. "I didn't have any doubt in my mind that he was going to give us a good outing."

The big news for Atlanta on Monday, though, came from the front office as general manager Frank Wren was fired a day after the team was officially eliminated from the playoff race. The club named John Hart as the interim GM.

McCutchen clubbed a 2-0 pitch into the seats in left field to lead off the sixth inning and give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

"You get all the hecklers and stuff back there behind you," said McCutchen. "They like to talk to you as if you're an animal in the zoo and you can't say anything back. I had a little bit of that going into that at-bat. I hit the big home run and I couldn't hear anything, it was as quiet as a church. It's always good to get the last laugh."

Liriano left a man on third in the first inning, then left runners at the corners in the fourth by striking out Harang.

After pitching a 1-2-3 sixth, Liriano was replaced by Jared Hughes, who tossed a flawless seventh inning.

John Holdzkom pitched around a two-out single by Freddie Freeman in the eighth, while Mark Melancon tossed a scoreless ninth for his 32nd save of the season.

Game Notes

Atlanta took two of three in Pittsburgh in mid-August ... The Braves went 0- for-5 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base ... Liriano improved to 2-1 in three starts against the Braves ... Harang fell to 16-8 against the Pirates.

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