Pirates 7, Marlins 0
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Florida Marlins ace Dontrelle Willis can accept losing to a young, on-the-rise starter such as Pittsburgh’s Tom Gorzelanny. What he can’t take is the Marlins losing the way they are now.
Gorzelanny limited slumping Florida to five singles over seven shutout innings, outpitching Willis in Pittsburgh’s 7-0 victory Monday night.
The Marlins began the game with an NL-leading 136 extra-base hits, but didn’t have one against Gorzelanny (5-2). The left-hander struck out five, walked none and has allowed only one run combined in his last two starts and three in his last three. He has given up two runs or fewer in all but two of eight starts.
Several Marlins had trouble pronouncing Gorzelanny’s name. They had more trouble trying to hit him.
“It was a fabulously pitched game by Tom Gorzelanny,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. “He has been terrific all year. When you’re throwing three quality pitches for strikes, it can be tough to deal with a guy like that.”
The Marlins, swept in a three-game weekend series in Washington, lost their fourth in a row and eighth in their last 10. They are six games below .500 (16-22) for the first time this season, and have a worse record than Pittsburgh (17-20).
Willis understands that teams and players go through slumps, but he doesn’t like what he is seeing from one of the majors’ youngest teams.
“We’re just not showing up. We’re just not showing up as a whole, offensively, defensively, whatever you want to call it,” he said. “We’re not showing up to play. Hopefully this is a wakeup call for us and, hopefully, tomorrow we’re able to go out and compete again. … You’ve got to have that swagger, and it’s kind of left us right now.”
Willis (5-3) doesn’t blame a lack of effort, but rather a malaise that’s set over a team that would appear to be too young to be worn down so early in a season.
Willis lost to the Pirates for the first time since 2003, despite pitching better than he did while surrendering at least four runs in each of his previous five starts. He permitted five hits and two runs, walking four in six innings.
“Myself, the last couple of starts prior to this, I wasn’t showing up to play as well as I thought I could,” Willis said. “I wanted to go out today and have a positive start, and I feel like I did it, but we have to do it as a collective unit. We can’t just have a couple of guys here and there doing it.”
Willis’ theory wasn’t universally accepted in his own clubhouse, with Josh Willingham saying the Marlins may be trying too hard.
“You can be thinking too much, instead of being lackluster and not mentally in the game or anything and I don’t think that’s the case,” he said.
Gorzelanny has made a few teams look bad this season. In his last start, a 1-0 loss to the Cubs and Jason Marquis on Wednesday, he gave up only Alfonso Soriano’s solo homer in seven innings. He was even better against the Marlins, letting only one runner advance as far as third and pitching out of a two-on, two-out jam in the seventh by getting pinch-hitter Jason Wood to ground out on a ball that deflected off Gorzelanny’s heel.
“I feel confident in my approach, and what I’m going to go out there and do what I need to do,” said the 24-year-old Gorzelanny, who has a 2.36 ERA. “I’m not saying I’m going to pitch seven or eight scoreless innings every time out, but I’m doing everything I can to get outs.”
Freddy Sanchez went 3-for-3 with a run scored against Willis—he is 9-for-13 against the left-hander in his career—and 4-for-5 overall, driving in two runs. Ronny Paulino hit a long solo home run in the sixth, his fourth of the season, and the Pirates added five runs against Florida’s bullpen in the eighth.
The Pirates are coming off 14 consecutive losing seasons, a streak that began during Florida’s first season in 1993, but the Marlins have always had trouble winning in Pittsburgh. They are 21-42 there and have lost 14 of 20 in PNC Park.
Florida’s Miguel Cabrera, second in the NL batting race to Sanchez last season, went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 15 at-bats to lower his average to .311. … Sanchez has seven hits in his last two games to raise his average to .283. … Pittsburgh’s Jose Castillo, starting at 3B only because Jose Bautista (ankle) is injured, had a two-run double in the eighth. … The Pirates have scored 20 runs in two days—they beat Atlanta 13-2 on Sunday—after scoring 20 in their previous seven combined. … Gorzelanny got his first hit in 37 career at-bats, a single off Willis in the sixth. … Marlins RF Jeremy Hermida, out all season with a bruised right knee, returned and went 1-for-2 with two walks.