The Pittsburgh Pirates opened their weekend series against the Miami Marlins with a 4-3 win at PNC Park on Friday night. The Marlins are a desperate team, scuffling over the past six weeks in their debut season with Ozzie Guillen and a stable of free agent acquisitions. They're now on the brink of becoming potential sellers at the deadline, making this series in Pittsburgh that much more important for them.
But the Bucs' pitching staff held the Fish lineup at bay, as starter Kevin Correia and the bullpen limited Miami to just three runs. Correia went five innings and allowed all three runs on eight hits. Chris Resop, Jared Hughes, and Jason Grilli all combined for three scoreless innings to get the ball to Joel Hanrahan in the ninth. The Bucs' closer had a little bit of an adventure protecting the one-run lead in the ninth, but after two singles, he ended the threat and finished off the game with back-to-back strikeouts.
On offense, the longball proved to be the difference with a solo homer from Neil Walker providing the winning run. After Miami put two runs on the board in the top of the first, Pittsburgh responded with a rally of their own against Ricky Nolasco. Garrett Jones singled home Alex Presley but the threat would end with Walker on third as Casey McGehee and Pedro Alvarez fanned and failed to put the ball in play.
The Bucs would get two more, however, in the bottom of the fourth to even things up at 3-3. Alvarez ripped a Nolasco offering over the right-field fence and Rod Barajas followed that up with a an extra base hit of his own -- a ground-rule double smashed to left. Clint Barmes came through in the clutch to tie things up and bring home Barajas on a single to left-center.
With the game even at 3-3, Walker stepped into the box one inning later and led off with a solo shot to right that traveled a foot shy of 400 feet. The bullpen would take if from there and make the one-run lead hold up.