Kevin Correia promptly walked leadoff hitter Jose Reyes on five pitches. Omar Infante hit into a force and came in after Ramirez ripped a 3-2 double to left. Logan Morrison walked, and KC was having some early problems finding the zone and getting the ball down. Stanton came to his rescue, pounding the first pitch on a rope to Barmes, who flagged it down nicely and flipped to Neil Walker to double up H-Ram.
The Bucs went quietly in the second; KC had the best at-bat of the frame. The Fish got a one-out triple in the left-center gap from Emilio Bonifacio. John Buck, going after the first offering, bounced to short, and Johnson followed suit, grounding out to Walker on the first pitch, with both deliveries pretty much down the middle. After 2, it's 1-1.
JT opened the third with a soft single that dropped in front of Bonifacio in center. The Kid rolled a knock into right to put Bucs at first and second. Cutch fell behind 1-2 and went down swinging at a pitch away, and El Toro bounced into a 4-6-3 DP to put a quick cap on the threat. After Correia K'ed Reyes, Infante dropped a bunt for a base hit. KC got Ramirez and Morrison on three pitches; the Marlins are aggressive at the plate so far.
Jones drilled one to the fence in right center to open the fourth with a loud out, victimized by a leaping Stanton grab. Barmes and Alex Presley bounced out to end the at-bat. KC walked Stanton on five pitches, although two looked awfully nice. Plate ump Mike Muchlinski has been calling a high strike zone, and anything at the knees doesn't count in his book for either guy tonight.
Greg Dobbs followed with a line knock to left. Bonafacio rolled a single to right to juice the sacks. Buck lined one to right to bring home a pair and send Bonifacio to third. Johnson bunted Buck up a base, and Reyes walked to load them again. Infante brought home two more with a single into left. Couple of walks, couple of liners, couple of grounders that found grass - seems easy enough; why can't Pittsburgh do that, too? Ramirez smacked a double; one more run scored, but the Bucs did get Infante at the plate, Tabata to Walker to McKenry.
Even though short in the pen after Lincoln's start, Clint Hurdle invoked the mercy rule and pulled KC for the corps' one fresh arm, Chris Resop. Correia went 3-2/3, giving up six runs on eight hits with four walks and a K, tossing 67 pitches. It wasn't a question of if but when the Fish got to him; he was up and in the middle of the plate all night. Resop did his part, getting Lo-Mo looking. But at 6-1, the cows are long gone.
The Bucs answered by going down in order. Chris Resop even got his first at-bat since 2005; he K'ed then, too. He shouldn't feel bad; JT fanned, too. Stanton led off for the Fish with a seeing eye single to right. After an out, the Bucs couldn't turn a Bonifacio DP ball; he then stole second. No diff; John Buck walked on a 3-2 pitch; no sense in working him too hard with the pitcher up. JJ made it interesting, dumping a short fly to left that Presley ran down.
A Cutch single and stolen base provided the Bucco action in the sixth. Resop faced the top of the Marlin order. With one away, Infante legged out an infield single to short. Ramirez beat out a little roller to the right side that Resop ate. He escaped, and was done after 39 pitches.
The Pirates did put one up in the seventh. McKenry lined a shot over the left field wall after two were down, his second of the year. Tony Watson took the hill, and put up a zero with 2 K and 2 BB. Johnson was done for the night, and Miami brought in Edward Mujca. He put down the top of the order 1-2-3.
Jared Hughes got the ball in the bottom of the eighth. He gave up a leadoff single, then used his sinker to get a DP and got away without any problems. KC might have had a rough outing, but the pen stayed strong tonight, even if they're gonna be short-handed again tomorrow at Washington.
Randy Choate came on to finish for the Marlins, and it was easy as 1-2-3.
The Bucs are gonna have to make a decision about KC. Last year, he fit because they needed a back-ender. But with Karstens and Lincoln emerging and the pick-ups of Bedard and Burnett, he looks like the odd man out now. Lincoln is already placed in the rotation so that he can step right in for Correia without any shuffling, so we'll see.
And they have to do something with Presley and McLouth sooner or later. Maybe it's time for Jones and Navarro, or maybe Indy's Gorkys Hernandez, to start platooning in the corners.
Erik Bedard opens a two gamer at Washington tomorrow night against Gio Gonzalez.
- Miami had a runner on every inning. The Pirates went down in order five times.
- This is the fourth straight game the Bucs have scored in the first inning. Didn't work quite as well tonight as it did the first three times.