Tuesday night at PNC Park the Marlins were fresh off of a "heated" team meeting that was called the previous night after they had dropped the series opener to the Pirates, and four straight overall. Only 25 people know exactly what was said or done behind the closed doors of the clubhouse during that meeting, but whatever it was proved to be effective in game two of their series against Pittsburgh.
The game got off to a good start as starters Ricky Nolasco and Zach Duke both held their opposing lineups scoreless through four innings.
The Marlins had their first chance to bust their 0-for-a-million with runners in scoring position streak in the top of the first. Gaby Sanchez doubled with two out and Dan Uggla followed with a walk, but Mike Stanton ended the inning by striking out, and the Fish remained hitless with RISP.
Ricky must have figured that if the streak was ever going to end, he'd have to end it himself. So in the top of the fifth, after Wes Helms had walked and moved to second on a groundout by Ronnie Paulino, Ricky singled to score Wes, and became the first Fish in 36 tries to get a hit with a runner in scoring position.
It turned out Ricky merely opened the floodgates. After he got the Fish on the board, Hanley and Logan both singled to load the bases, and Gaby drove in two more runs with an RBI single to right. Uggs followed with a sac fly, and in just one inning, the Marlins had racked up more hits with runners in scoring position than their last five games combined. 4-0, Fish.
In the sixth, Ricky decided to help himself out again. Uncle Wes singled, and Ricky hit a two-out double to drive in his second run of the game, and put the Fish up 5-0. That was the end of the road for Zach Duke, who has yet to win a start against the Marlins in his career.
Ricky cruised through the first five innings of the game, but ran into trouble in the sixth when he loaded up the bases with two out. Jose Tabata singled off of Ricky's pitching hand to load up the bases, but Ricky shook it off and struck out Walker to end the inning.
The trouble began again for Ricky in the seventh when he gave up consecutive singles to Jones and Alvarez to lead off the inning, and that would end his night on the mound. After six shutout frames and two big RBI hits, Ricky was done and Jose Veras came on in relief. He induced a fly ball for the first out, and a double play to end the inning.
Veras handled a scoreless eighth inning as well, and in the top of the ninth, the Marlins added a little extra insurance. With one out, Chan Ho Park hit Hanley with a pitch, and LoMo drove him in with a double to center to make it 6-0.
Clay Hensley tossed a scoreless ninth inning, and the Marlins shut out the Pirates and evened up the series at a game apiece.
Gotta love team meetings.