Earlier this week the Marlins recalled Alex Sanabia from Triple-A New Orleans to replace Sean West. West was put on the 15 day Disabled List due to inflammation in his right knee.
Sanabia’s first start since his return to the big club was a gem. In seven and two thirds innings, Alex allowed one run on four base hits. He did not walk anyone and recorded five strikeouts.
Gaby Sanchez was the hitting hero as the Marlins won their third straight at PNC Park. The Florida first baseman hit a three run homer off of Pittsburgh starter Paul Maholm in the sixth inning. The Fish completed the ten game road trip with a 6-4 record.
Both starting pitchers were sailing along in this contest until the top of the sixth inning. Emilio Bonafacio led off the frame with a walk. Logan Morrison singled to center field advancing Bonafacio to third base. Gaby Sanchez would follow with his long blast into the Marlins bullpen to make it a 3-0 ballgame.
Dan Uggla followed Sanchez with a base hit to left field. Mike Stanton would erase Uggla, and himself, by hitting into a 5-4-3 double play.
Cody Ross hit a two out double and Wes Helms followed with an RBI single to give Florida a 4-0 advantage. Ronny Paulino continued the base hit parade putting runners on first and second. Maholm would hit opposing pitcher Sanabia with an 82 MPH slider to load the bases. That mistake ended Maholm’s night. Sean Gallagher replaced Maholm on the mound and struck out Bonafacio, who was the tenth Marlins hitter in the inning.
The Pirates would get on the board with a single run in the eighth inning.
In the bottom of the ninth Marlins closer Leo Nunez was greeted by Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen hit Nunez’s 3-2 fastball into the bleachers in left field. Jose Tabata grounded out to Sanchez at first base. Neil Walker singled to right field. Nunez struck out Garrett Jones swinging. Pedro Alvarez would strike out swinging as well to end the ballgame. Nunez earned his 28th save of the season.
As a result of the Houston Astros 3-2 victory over the New York Mets at Minute Maid Park the Marlins moved into third place in the National League Eastern Division. They are also back to .500 with a 60-60 mark.
At Turner Field in Atlanta, the Washington Nationals beat the first place Atlanta Braves by the score of 6-2. The third place Marlins are back to within ten and a half games of the division leading Braves.
More good news for the Florida ball club in the Wild Card race. At Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, the Giants defeated the Wild Card leading Phillies 5-2. The Marlins are now it sixth place (they past New York in this race as well), eight games behind Philadelphia. The Phillies hold a one game margin over the Giants.
The Florida Marlins head back to South Florida to open a weekend series against the Houston Astros. Anibal Sanchez (9-8, 3.31 ERA) seeks his tenth win for the Marlins. The Astros send JA Happ (2-1, 4.66 ERA) to the Sun Life Stadium hill.