PITTSBURGH (AP)—The Florida Marlins are starting to wonder why they’re the only opposing team in the majors that can’t win regularly in Pittsburgh.
Freddy Sanchez’s opposite-field single in the 10th inning drove in the winning run and the Pirates won a one-run game at home for the first time this season, rallying to beat the Marlins 3-2 Monday.
Pittsburgh was 0-7 at home and 3-11 overall in one-run games before Jack Wilson doubled with two outs against Todd Jones (0-1), moved up on a wild pitch as Ty Wigginton walked and scored on Sanchez’s single to right.
“He’s a good hitter … and he just got me,” said Jones, Florida’s sixth pitcher. “If you’re going to get beat, get beat on a ball to right field and it’s a single.”
Rick White (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory as the Pirates beat Florida for the seventh straight time at PNC Park, even though they’ve won only eight of 21 in their own ballpark this season. The Marlins are 1-9 in Pittsburgh since 2002.
Sanchez, a utility infielder, was 0-for-5 before his game-winning hit, but he has seven hits while starting the last four games. He is playing with nine stitches in his left wrist after being struck by Felipe Lopez’s broken bat while fielding Lopez’s game-winning infield single in Cincinnati on Friday night.
On that play, Sanchez ignored the bat that was streaking directly toward him, risking a potential serious injury, to grab the ball and try to make a game-saving throw to the plate.
“He’s been a little spark plug for us,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He’s showed a lot of guts the last few days. I think he’s been a real inspiration to everyone on this team.”
In the 10th, Sanchez was trying only to make up for what he felt were some wasted at-bats.
“I was trying to do something to get these guys going and my first five at-bats I didn’t help out at all,” he said. “I’m just fortunate I got that last at-bat. It had been a tough game for me up until then.”
Miguel Cabrera drove in two runs, but the Marlins dropped their fifth in six games overall amid a slump that has seen them score only 13 runs in five games.
Asked if the Marlins are cursed in Pittsburgh, manager Jack McKeon said, “It ain’t the city, how many games have we lost when we’ve scored two or less runs?”
The Marlins are 2-14 when scoring two or fewer, including three such losses in four games.
“Curse?” McKeon said. “The curse is on the bats when we come here.”
The Pirates appeared to have wasted another effective start by Mark Redman— four hits and two runs over six innings—before scoring the tying run in the eighth. After a walk and Jose Castillo’s infield single, shortstop Alex Gonzalez dropped second baseman Luis Castillo’s relay throw on an apparent inning-ending double play grounder by Wilson.
David Ross was ruled out at second, even though it didn’t appear Gonzalez held the ball long enough for the out, but the error allowed Jose Castillo to score from second.
“I had to hurry up and I dropped the ball,” said Gonzalez, who committed his sixth error. “It’s going to happen. Maybe not too often, but it happened today.”
Left-hander Al Leiter, in danger of losing his job in the Marlins rotation, was effective as usual against the Pirates despite walking five and throwing 108 pitches in five innings. He allowed one run and four hits, including Ross’ RBI double after Daryle Ward’s double in the second. In 10 career starts against Pittsburgh, Leiter’s ERA is 0.99.
The Marlins turned their first stolen base in 13 games, by Juan Pierre after he singled leading off the game, into a run on Cabrera’s sacrifice fly. Cabrera also had a run-scoring double following Matt Treanor’s double in the third to make it 2-1.
Pittsburgh was once one of the majors’ best Memorial Day baseball cities, drawing a string of big crowds for holiday doubleheaders in the 1960s and 1970s — some with the unusual starting time of 10:35 a.m. But chilly, wet weather early in the day helped limit Monday’s crowd to 17,379, and the Pirates have drawn only 29,961 combined on Memorial Day the last two seasons.
Pirates relievers Brian Meadows, Mike Gonzalez and White combined for four scoreless innings. … The Pirates left 14 on base. … Ross’ double was his first extra-base hit since May 4. … Florida is 1-3 and Pittsburgh is 1-2 in extra innings. … Redman, a Marlins starter during their 2003 World Series championship season, has allowed three earned runs or fewer in all but one of 11 starts, yet has won only twice since April 12. … The Pirates had lost six of eight.