Edinson Volquez pitched another gem Thursday night, yielding one hit in seven shutout innings to lead the Pirates to a 7-2 win against the Miami Marlins at PNC Park.
Gregory Polanco went 2 for 4, drove in four runs and made a play from right field that would have made his long-ago predecessors proud.
The Pirates were riding another excellent start by Volquez when they busted out for three runs in the fourth, getting an RBI single from Russell Martin and a two-run, bases-loaded single from Polanco.
The Marlins quickly threatened in the fifth, when Volquez walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia with one out, then surrendered his first and only hit to Donovan Solano. That put Marlins at first and second.
Adeiny Hechavarria hit a pop fly to foul territory in right, where Polanco caught the ball at the railing. He then planted his feet and fired to Jayson Nix to double off Saltalamacchia who had tagged up and headed for third. The spectacular double play shut down the Marlins' only threat until the ninth.
"You have to prepare. I didn't know he [was] going to run. I heard [second baseman] Michael [Martinez] yelling 'he tagged, he tagged,' so I just threw it," said Polanco.
Inspired and led by Polanco and Volquez, the Pirates (61-53) collected their second consecutive win without several of their star players and a short bench.
"We've got a mentality in there that we're going to go play with what we've got," said manager Clint Hurdle.
"We focus on who we have, not who we don't have. ... We believe we can win a ballgame."
Volquez pitched seven innings. He threw 106 pitches, struck out seven and walked three. He put the Marlins down in order in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh, relying heavily on his superb fastball command.
"Tonight was one of the best nights for me [in terms of] control with my fastball," said Volquez. "Me and Martin were on the same page. Got ahead with the fastball, and my secondary pitches were there, as well."
Hurdle said it was one of his best performances when it came to pace and rhythm, too.
"He had a really good fastball tonight, first and foremost, and the curveball played extremely well," said Hurdle. "More curveballs than changeups."
The Pirates added to their early 3-0 lead with two runs in the fifth and two more in the eighth before Giancarlo Stanton's two-out home run in the ninth against reliever Stolmy Pimentel spoiled the shutout. It was Stanton's first home run at PNC Park.
Harrison led off the fifth with a single to left that stretched his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. He stole second and scored on Jordy Mercer's single before Gaby Sanchez drove in another run with a line-drive single to center.
Polanco drove in two more with a double in the eighth.
The game took a scary turn in the seventh when Marlins reliever Dan Jennings took a line drive by Mercer off his head and slumped to the ground.
He was conscious, but appeared disoriented and was eventually carted off for medical evaluation after the blow to his temple.
"Somebody's career. That's somebody's family," said Mercer. "You don't want anything like that [to happen]. I had the best seat in the house basically, and it wasn't pretty. Just got to keep him in my prayers."
Volquez issued a walk to Christian Yelich to open the game, but Martin caught him stealing at second and Stanton struck out looking to end the first. In the fourth, Stanton took a sinker deep to right, but it curved foul. Volquez got ahead in the count before Stanton worked it full and grounded out.
The Marlins sent left-hander Brian Flynn to the mound for his first start this season. He lasted four innings, gave up eight hits, five runs, two walks and mixed in three strikeouts and wild pitch.
The Pirates open a three-game series against the San Diego Padres tonight, when right-handers Vance Worley (4-1, 2.43 ERA) and Ian Kennedy (8-9, 3.59 ERA) square off at 7:05.
Jenn Menendez firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @JennMenendez.
Jenn Menendez email@example.com and Twitter @JennMenendez First Published August 7, 2014 12:00 AM