MIAMI -- The Pittsburgh Pirates' relievers came through again Monday, this time for one of their own.
Brad Lincoln pitched six innings to earn a victory in his first start of the season, and three relievers protected a one-run lead with three shutout innings to help beat the Miami Marlins 3-2."After Linc, we turned it over to our bullpen," said catcher Rod Barajas, who hit his second homer. "And our bullpen has been lights out all season long."Lincoln (3-0), who had come out of the bullpen in his seven previous appearances this season, departed for a pinch-hitter with a 3-2 lead after throwing 80 pitches."That's a big-time effort. We could not have asked for any more," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He threw as hard as he could for as long as he could."The Pirates started a seven-game, three-city trip with their third victory in a row, and they're within one game of .500. They had lost eight consecutive games to the Marlins and went 0-6 against them last year."We talked about it before the game. We haven't beat them in a long time," Hurdle said. "It's time for us to do something."The Pirates, who rank last in the majors in runs, won with only six hits. Barajas, who began the week batting .162, homered in the second inning, and Pedro Alvarez put Pittsburgh ahead to stay with an RBI double in the sixth.The Marlins had runners at first and third with one out in the eighth."We had a pretty good opportunity," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We couldn't come through."Jason Grilli escaped the jam when he struck out Logan Morrison and got Giancarlo Stanton to pop out."That's not easy to get the last two guys that he did over there, Morrison and Stanton," Hurdle said. "That's not easy work. To be first and third looking at those two guys, good for him."Joel Hanrahan pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save in eight chances. The bullpen lowered its ERA to 2.54.Lincoln, making his 18th career start, allowed four hits and walked one. His ERA is 1.33."I'm going to let it go and come right you," the right-hander said. "If you beat me, you beat me, if not, good things will happen. This year, things have been working out."Miami's Anibal Sanchez (2-1) went seven innings for the fifth start in a row and allowed three runs.Hanley Ramirez hit his seventh home run for the Marlins, but they otherwise mustered little support for Sanchez. They've scored only 12 runs in his past five starts."What can I do? Just continue to pitch good and wait for run support," Sanchez said. "They want to score some runs. I never have complaints about the hitters not giving me run support."Miami, which began the week last in the majors batting with runners in scoring position, went 1 for 8 in those situations."We had opportunities and weren't able to get it done," said Jose Reyes, who was twice stranded in scoring position. "Their starter pitched a good game. You have to give some credit to that guy. He had a good fastball and breaking ball and was throwing strikes."Pittsburgh went ahead for the third and final time when Alvarez doubled home Andrew McCutchen, who had singled.The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first. Jose Tabata led off with a double, took third on a flyout and scored on a sacrifice fly by McCutchen. Barajas homered in the second.Miami came from behind twice. Ramirez's homer in the second made the score 1-all, and Emilio Bonifacio hit a two-out RBI single in the fourth to tie the game at 2.
After the game, Marlins CF Kevin Mattison was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. A corresponding move is expected Tuesday. ... LF Morrison robbed Tabata of an extra-base hit by jumping to make a backhanded catch just before he hit the scoreboard in the left-field wall. ... Early indications were the Marlins' new ballpark would be tough for power hitters, but the team has 13 homers in 15 home games, and 19 in 20 road games. ... Bonifacio stole second and has 18 steals, most in the majors. The Pirates have thrown out only four of 27 on steal attempts. ... The retractable roof has been closed for all four games in the Marlins' homestand.