Pitching Duel in South Florida as Pirates sink Marlins 1-0

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 14: Trevor Richards
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 14: Trevor Richards /

b The Marlins (4-10) and the Pirates (10-4) faced off in the second game of a three game set under an open roof Marlins Park. Marlins right hander Trevor Richards took the hill against the Pirates Jameson Taillon.

Miami’s Trevor Richards showed signs of brilliance and was efficient through seven innings. He was proficient at getting outs off of soft contact balls in play and solid defense while striking out two batters. He threw 82 pitches, 49 for strikes.  Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli was the only Bucs batter that was able to get to Richards tonight. He was hit by a pitch, singled and doubled to reach base three times.

Taillon was just as effective as Richards, though he allowed his pitch count to get higher and was lifted after six innings of shut out ball. He allowed four hits, three free passes and struck out two, lowering his season ERA to 0.89.

Marlins threaten but are unable to score.

Miami had baserunners in the 2nd inning when Justin Bour reached on a no-out line drive single to to center field. Brian Anderson grounded out, advancing Bour to scoring position. The previous nights hero, JB Shuck, walked and then Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson made it to first base when he  grounded into a would-be double play that was off the mark for Pittsburgh. Bour advanced and was 90 feet front giving Miami a 1-0 lead. The Marlins were unable to capitalize on the opportunity as catcher Bryan Holaday struck out to end the inning.

Lewis Brinson, though struggling at the plate, flashed some leather as he ran down a deep fly-ball to center field and made an elegant leaping catch. He was looking much like his idol, former Marlin, Juan Pierre.

Trevor Richards did not allow a hit through the first four frames and was only 35 pitches into his night on the bump.

The bottom of the fourth provided Miami another opportunity to push some runs across. Justin Bour walked, Briand Anderson continued his hot start and singled. JB Shuck advance Bour to 3rd on a grounder with Anderson being thrown out at second. Pittsburg intentionally walked Bryan Holaday to load the bases. Trevor Richards had a chance to drive in runs but ultimately left the bases loaded to end the inning.

Pittsburgh’s first hit of the contest came in the top of the 5th when Francisco Cervelli hit a ground-rule double into The Clevelander in left field.

The relievers held the deadlock 0-0 into the 9th inning. For Pittsburg, Michael Feliz and George Kontos took care of the 7th and 8th innings respectively. Miami did threaten in the 8th stranding two runners again as they were unable to come up with the clutch hit. Drew Steckenrider handled the 8th for Miami striking out two and walking one.

Bunts deciding factor in 1-0 game.

Marlins closer Brad Ziegler took the ball in the 9th in a non-save situation. He got an easy first out as Gregory Polanco grounded out to Starlin Castro on a routine play.

Then things got interesting as the Pirates turned to small ball in what would be a decisive move. Starling Marte laid a perfect bunt up the third base line. Ziegler rushed the ball and fielded it well but Marte was too quick and beat the throw to first base. Josh Bell then singled up the middle past Castro into center field advancing Marte to third base. Corey Dickerson then laid another bunt for Pittsburgh popping the ball over Ziegler’s head toward first base. Ziegler charged, ready for a grounder, and Castro was playing back at double play depth. Neither could field the ball in time. Marte scored from third base and made the game 1-0. Cervelli grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez handled the bottom of the ninth. Brinson, Holaday and Maybin were set down in order to end the inning and the game. Vazquez earned his 5th save of the year while Ziegler’s record is now 0-3 for Miami.

The game was a tough loss for the Marlins. They can be encouraged by Trevor Richards performance on the mound. This marked 3 games in a row that Miami starting pitching has gone 6+ innings and giving the bullpen some much needed rest. Lewis Brinson continues to impress with his defense despite having a hard time at the plate. Brian Anderson has also continued to make his case for early Rookie of the Year talk.

Despite the final score there are a lot of positives to focus on in Miami

Both teams look to secure a series win on Sunday at Marlins Park as Opening Day starter Jose Urena takes the bump for Miami vs Pittsburg’s Ivan Nova.