After getting swept in Cincinnati, the last place the Marlins wanted to go was another park in which the team struggles to win. But try as they did to divert the bus elsewhere, the official schedule had them going for a four-game series at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The game didn't get off to a great start for Chris Volstad. With one out in the first, he walked Jose Tabata, then gave up a double to Neil Walker. Garrett Jones followed with a sac fly to center that scored Tabata, and Jose Alvarez singled to plate Walker. After the first, the Pirates were up 2-0.
With James McDonald on the hill for Pittsburgh, the Marlins picked up right where they left off in Cinci with runners in scoring position (you know, preferring to leave them on base rather than bring them home). In the top of the second, Uggla singled and moved into scoring position when Cody Ross walked. But in keeping with recent trends, Wes Helms grounded into a double play to end the inning, and extend the Marlins hitless with RISP streak to 0-28.
Volstad, thankfully, settled down a bit after his rough first inning, and the Marlins finally put up a run in the fourth. Logan Morrison doubled to lead off the inning, Gaby moved him over with a groundout, and Uggla grounded out as well, scoring LoMo, and putting the Marlins on the board. Still no hits with runners in scoring position, but at least it was a run.
In the bottom of the sixth, things went south for Vols. He gave up a single to Andrew McCutchen, walked Tabata, and then hit Neil Walker with a pitch to load the bases with no outs. That was the end of the road for Chris. Edwin pulled him after he'd tossed just 62 pitches, and Tankersley came in to try and get the Fish out of their jam. But he didn't. Not that it comes as any shock. After falling behind 2-0 Tank gave up a two-run double to Garrett Jones. Then he gave up a two-run single to Alvarez, and the Pirates took a 6-1 lead.
Brian Sanches got the call from the pen next, and recorded the necessary three outs to get the Marlins out of the inning. But down five runs, the Fish had their work cut out for them, and McDonald didn't make it easy. He got through the seventh inning against the Marlins--the longest start of his career--and only gave up three hits, and the one fourth inning run.
Brian Sanches was back out for the bottom of the seventh, and he gave up a lead-off home run to Andrew McCutchen to pad the Pirates lead to 7-1. The sad news for the Fish was that they couldn't do any better against the Pirates bullpen than they did against McDonald. Chris Resop held them scoreless in the eighth, and suddenly the Fish were down to their last three outs against Joel Hanrahan.
Uggla and Stanton both singled off of Hanrahan to put two on with no outs, but Cody grounded into a double play and Wes struck out swinging to end the game.
The Fish have dropped four in a row, and haven't had a hit with a runner in scoring position since last Thursday.
This is a joy to watch.