Pirates beat Marlins, 4-3
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The hitting streak ended Wednesday for Neil Walker. Thankfully for him and the Pirates, the month of July didn't.
Walker hit the go-ahead home run and sent the Pirates to a 4-3 win against the Miami Marlins in front of a sellout crowd at PNC Park Friday night, giving the Pirates their fourth win in the past six games.
Walker had a 17-game hitting streak until he went 0 for 4 in Wednesday's game. He wasted no time getting back on the board with a single in the first inning. He broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth with a line-drive home run, his eighth of the year.
In 15 games in July, Walker is 26 for 57 (.456) with three home runs. He raised his average for the season to .301.
Kevin Correia gave up plenty of hits, but kept most of the base-runners from scoring. He allowed three runs on eight hits in five innings, striking out five and walking none.
Correia has now struck out 11 batters in his past 11 innings. He struck out six Brewers Saturday in Milwaukee, his season high. Entering the game, he had only 41 strikeouts in 971/3 innings.
He got Carlos Lee, who with a strikeout once every 14.6 plate appearances is the hardest player to strike out in the National League, to go down swinging twice.
Jose Reyes hit the second pitch of the game into right-center field for his fifth home run of the season.
Emilio Bonifacio followed with a single, then stole second and third. He scored on Lee's ground ball, and the Marlins took an early 2-0 lead.
Alex Presley walked to lead off the bottom of the first and Walker singled. Garrett Jones' single down the first-base line scored Presley. Jones went to second on a wild pitch, giving the Pirates second and third with one out, but Ricky Nolasco struck out Casey McGehee and Pedro Alvarez to strand the runners.
Nolasco allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings, walking one and striking out seven.
Singles from Omar Infante and John Buck put runners on first and third in the fourth. With two strikes, Nolasco bunted, and Infante, reading the play, scored on a squeeze to give the Marlins a 3-1 lead.
The Pirates tied it in the fourth. Alvarez stayed on a 1-2 curveball and hit his 20th home run of the season with one out. Rod Barajas followed with a double that skipped over the left-field wall, and Clint Barmes singled to center to score him.
Chris Resop replaced Correia and pitched a perfect sixth, but allowed consecutive singles with one out in the seventh. Jared Hughes replaced them and stranded both runners. He has now allowed only one of his 19 inherited runners to score this season.
Walker's defense helped the cause as well. With a runner on first in the eighth, Walker fielded a ground ball, swiped at the runner as he advanced to second and threw to first for the double play as he fell onto the infield grass.
First Published July 20, 2012 10:28 pm