Marlins 5, Pirates 1
One pitch later, Cabrera was out of his slump and back in the manager’s good graces. The rookie singled to drive in the go-ahead run in a four-run seventh inning, and Florida beat Pittsburgh 5-1 Thursday to remain tied for the NL wild-card lead.
“He redeemed himself,” McKeon said. “He wasn’t in the doghouse. Those things happen. It was a lack of communication with one of our coaches.”
Actually, Cabrera said he knew he had the take sign.
“I want to swing, you know?” he said with a smile.
With the hit, Cabrera ended a 1-for-35 slump that dropped his average 37 points to .243. Alex Gonzalez, who began the game in a 1-for-25 slump, followed with his 16th home run.
“It was nice to see Gonzalez and Cabrera help us out a little bit,” McKeon said.
Even more surprising was a home run by Juan Pierre, his first in 572 at-bats this season. Ramon Castro also homered and the Marlins remained tied for the wild-card lead with the Philadelphia Phillies, who beat the New York Mets 6-5.
The Marlins finished 6-1 on their homestand and begin a six-game road trip Friday against Montreal in Puerto Rico. They went 1-8 on their most recent trip.
“I think this trip is going to be different,” pitcher Carl Pavano said. “We’ve got good momentum going.”
Pavano limited the Pirates to seven hits and one run—on Matt Stairs’ 17th homer—in 6 1-3 innings.
Castro, batting for the first time since he was charged with raping a woman in his Pittsburgh hotel room last week, pinch-hit in the seventh and hit his fourth home run.
“That made me feel a lot better,” said Castro, who has said he’s innocent. “It’s tough, but right now I feel good.”
Salomon Torres (5-4) retired his first nine batters before Pierre pulled a pitch over the wall for his first home run since last Sept. 29 to put Florida ahead. It was Pierre’s fourth career homer in 1,981 at-bats.
“I knew I hit it good,” Pierre said. “But when you don’t hit too many home runs, you wait for the umpire to give the sign.”
Michael Tejera (2-3) retired both batters he faced and stranded the potential go-ahead run at second in the seventh. Pittsburgh went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
“We were bad,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We just didn’t have quality at-bats when we needed them.”
Torres departed with one out in the seventh and the score 1-all, but the next four batters reached against the Pirates’ bullpen. Torres, who gave up four hits and was charged with two runs, is 0-2 in his past seven starts.
“I want to win and I expect to win, but I feel good about the way I pitched today,” Torres said. “I’ll have to take the good and throw the bad out.”
Juan Encarnacion started the seventh-inning rally with an infield single, and Derrek Lee walked. Mike Lincoln replaced Torres and gave up the single by Cabrera—Lee was thrown out at third on the play—and the homer by Gonzalez. Castro then homered off Mike Gonzalez to make it 5-1.
“When we get four runs in one inning, you can send up a rocket,” McKeonsaid. “We don’t do that too often.”
The game was the 99th between the teams. Pittsburgh leads the series 54-45 and won the season series 4-2. … Jason Kendall batted .579 (11-for-19) against the Marlins this season with one homer and four RBIs. His career average against them is .371. … Florida’s final 22 games will be against theNL East.