The Florida Marlins were swept earlier in the year by the Pirates in a three game series. In fact, it seemed to set the tone for the Marlins early on in the season as they spiraled downward after starting the season 11-1. The Pirates, however, were a different team then featuring Nate McClouth – who has since been traded to the Braves.
Still, the scrappy Pirates proved to be tough in this home series as they took the first game but the Marlins came back and stole the final two games of this series going 5-1 on this homestand. Ricky Nolasco provided his best outing of the season, which is great news for the team as they depart for a west coast trip and 3 games over .500.
Nolasco pitched 8 innings striking out 12 and only walking 2 batters. He gave up only 3 hits and lowered his ERA to a now manageable 5.45. Nolasco’s accuracy has much improved since his return from the minor leagues – of the 112 pitches he threw 75 were for strikes. He flat out dominated the Pirates hitters on a way to a combined shutout – Leo Nunez closed the door in the 9th to preserve the 5 run lead and shutout.
On offense the Marlins got 2 hits each from Jeremy Hermida, Wes Helms and John Baker. The offense didn’t do it with the long ball, but instead took advantage of situations to move runners and forced the Pirates to pay for mistakes.
The Marlins are playing good baseball right now, just in time to take on the Giants who are also playing well of late. The Marlins are vying for that top spot in the NL East but the defending champion Phillies won’t go quietly.
The shutout was the 2nd shutout for the Marlins this season.