The Marlins took their first step in an attempt to finish the season at .500. It looked like a cakewalk early on and if you turned off your television set thinking the game was secure, you were sort of right, but you grossly underestimated the Marlins bullpen.
Chris Volstad picked up where he left off in his last two starts and retired the Pirates in order in the first.
Zack Duke wasn't so lucky when the Marlins sent nine batters to the plate in the first. Emilio Bonifacio led off the Marlins half of the inning with a single, stole second and moved to third on Ozzie Martinez ground ball out. Logan Morrison followed with a single to plate Boni. Dan Uggla then walked to put runners on first and second. With two outs Mike Stanton singled to to center to drive in LoMo. Wes Helm joined the hit parade and doubled to score Danny and Stanton. When the smoke finally cleared, the Marlins had the early lead 4-0.
In the second, Gaby hit a sac fly to right to bring Ozzie home to increase the lead to 5-0.
In the fourth the Pirates finally got on the board, it would be first runs Volstad would surrender in 18.2 innings of work. Jose Tabata led off with a single and Neil Walker followed with a double to left to score Tabata. Pedro Alvarez would single to center to plate Walker. The score now was 5-2 Marlins.
The Marlins would more than answer back in the bottom half of the inning. With one out, Ozzie was safe at first thanks to Alvarez's error. LoMo then singled to put runners on first and second for Danny. He did not disappoint and doubled to left to score Ozzie. Stanton was next up and on the third pitch of the at bat, he hit a 450 ft. shot over the centerfield wall. Chasing Duke and making the score 9-2 Marlins.
At this point in the game, it was presumed to be a laugher. Volstad was on and other than that blip in the fourth the Pirates couldn't do much with him. Volstad went six strong innings and when he called it a night, the Marlins were up 10-2.
Then the race began. It was a race to see how many runs the Marlins bullpen could give up before the Pirates offense made nine outs. It was a close one. Between Brian Sanches, Sandy Rosario, Clay Hensley and Jose Veras they made a go of it. The quartet allowed the Pirates to score seven runs in three innings. Thankfully Leo Nunez came on in the ninth and finally put an end to the madness striking out the final two batters for his 30th save of the season. Final score: 11-9 Marlins.
It wasn't pretty at the end but nonetheless Chris Volstad won his sixth decision in-a-row and that is a good thing.
Three more games to go.