SAN DIEGO - Francisco Liriano struck out a season-high 13 and Pedro Alvarez hit his NL-leading 31st home run to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday night.
The Pirates, who had lost seven of nine coming in, maintained a one-game lead in the NL Central over St. Louis.
The Padres struck out 17 times overall Monday night, giving them 59 in their last five games. They've lost nine of 13.
Liriano (14-5) tied his career-high with his 14th victory. He helped give some relief to the Pirates' bullpen, which was taxed when three of the previous six games went extra innings.
Coming off a four-hit victory at St. Louis in his last start, Liriano held San Diego to four hits in seven innings while walking two.
Liriano's previous season high was 11 strikeouts on June 1 against Cincinnati.
His career high is 15.
Padres recall Boxberger, designate O'Sullivan
The San Diego Padres have recalled right-handed reliever Brad Boxberger from Triple-A Tucson and designated right-hander Sean O'Sullivan for assignment.
Boxberger's promotion Monday is the fourth time he's been up with the Padres this season. He's gone 0-1 with one save and a 4.00 ERA in six relief appearances with the Padres.
O'Sullivan went 0-2 with a 3.96 ERA in seven games, including three starts.