The Bucs kicked off their homestand with a game against the new-look Marlins in a matchup that featured Kevin Correia and Ricky Nolasco. It started out bleak, but the Pirates came back to make it a heck of a game.
The second pitch of the game that Correia threw was taken deep by Jose Reyes for a leadoff home run. Emilio Bonifacio then singled, and stole his away to third. He scored on an RBI-groundout as Miami went up 2-0 early.
Garrett Jones got a run back with an RBI-single to RF, and Correia started to settle in. He threw two scoreless innings before Nolasco laid down a sac-bunt with runners on the corners to make it 3-1 in the fourth. The Bucs came back to tie it in the bottom of the fourth. Pedro Alvarez smacked his 20th homer, followed by a Rod Barajas book-rule double. Clint Barmes drove him in to tie it, and Correia kept the game tied after five. Despite a really shaky start, Correia wasn’t all that bad, and was able to grind out five innings. He ended up with 94 pitches.
Neil Walker led off the fifth with a solo shot to take the lead and get his average over .300. Chris Resop pitched a great sixth, but got into some trouble after getting one out in the seventh. With runners on first and second, Jared Hughes came in. He got a groundout, and then a flyout to end the inning an escape the jam.
There was a chance to tack on in the seventh when Jordy Mercer led off with a double, but a failed bunt attempt ruined the whole inning. Jason Grilli pitched a clean eighth, and it was Hammer Time. Joel Hanrahan gave up a leadoff single, but got John Buck to pop up a bunt attempt for the first out. Pinch-hitter Austin Kearns singled up the middle to put runners on the corners and turn over the lineup. Joel got Reyes to whiff for the second out, but the runner on first stole second. But no worries, the Hammer punched out Bonifacio on three pitches to get the win in front of the sold-out PNC Park crowd.
Pretty intense game. Let’s hope this winning streak continues. The Reds also won tonight, so there’s no change in the standings. BUT…the Pirates still tied with the Braves for the top wildcard spot.
Pirates (52-40) – Marlins (44-49)
Win: Correia (7-6)
Loss: Nolasco (8-8)
Save: Hanrahan (27)