PITTSBURGH (AP)—The Pirates Pirates had only six hits, watched their starter last only three innings and committed two errors. But they were the much better team at PNC Park on Thursday night.
The Pirates tied a team record with four sacrifice flies and took advantage of a record-tying five Florida Marlins errors for a 7-2 victory in front of an announced crowd of 9,582.
“We just kicked it around and you can’t do that,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “You keep putting people on base and something bad is going to happen.”
“Walks and sac flies and all that kind of stuff—stuff that we characteristically do a lot of—it’s nice to do that and get a win,” said the Pirates’ Jason Bay, who scored twice after reaching on Miguel Cabrera errors. “We’ve had chances in numerous games before and not (scored enough). Offensively, we didn’t have a breakout game, but it’s nice to put up seven runs some way.”
The Pirates tied a club record set Sept. 9, 1988, against Philadelphia with four sacrifice flies. The Marlins tied a club record for errors.
“When a team makes errors, you need to take advantage and we did,” Paulino said. “That’s a good way to win a game.”
Hanley Ramirez and Jeremy Hermida each had two hits for Florida, which had a two-game winning streak snapped and committed five errors in a game for the first time since July 25, 2000. It was the third time the Marlins committed five errors in a game.
“Situational at-bats, you have to do that,” Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy said. “That’s something that early in the season we missed on some of those opportunities. You’ve got to capitalize on those situations, you have to do that.”
Four of Florida’s errors occurred in the first four innings—leading to three unearned runs for Pittsburgh.
The first came in the second inning off Florida starter Ricky Nolasco when Bay reached on Cabrera’s first error and scored on Paulino’s sacrifice fly.
After Cabrera’s RBI double in the third scored Ramirez to make it 2-1, Armas was pulled for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning. He allowed two runs on three hits with three walks and a hit batter in three innings.
Pirates manager Jim Tracy said earlier in the week that Armas’ spot in the rotation was on the line in this outing. His ERA dropped from 8.76 to 8.46.
“I think it’s better served to talk about that tomorrow,” Tracy said when asked about the status of Armas. “Let’s enjoy the game we just won.”
If Armas is removed from the rotation, Chacon (1-0) is a prime candidate to replace him. Chacon allowed only two hits and no walks in working the third through eighth innings. He needed 70 pitches—seven less than Armas threw in his three innings.
“The job Shawn Chacon did tonight was terrific,” Tracy said. “He located extremely well tonight. His pitches had life. He had great life down in the zone.”
“It’s no secret that he’s been struggling,” Chacon said of Armas. “I feel for him. Nobody wants him to struggle; he’s a big part of this team. But I think everybody else understands that that spot is also a big part of this team. Whatever happens, whatever’s decided, I hope he turns it around either way.”
The Pirates supported Chacon immediately by scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Two of those were unearned as a result of three Florida errors— two of which were charged to shortstop Ramirez during one play.
Nolasco (1-2) allowed four hits and three walks while striking out one in five innings.
“It’s my job to try and pick up my teammates and I wasn’t able to do that and come up with a couple of outs here or there,” Nolasco said. “It just wasn’t our night tonight.”
Armas has pitched more than five innings only once this season and failed to last more than four in four of his seven starts. … Florida entered the game ranked 13th in the National League in fielding percentage. … The Marlins’ bullpen has pitched 149 innings this season and had led the majors in that category heading into the game. … Cabrera is 8-for-12 lifetime against Armas.