MIAMI -- The best-hitting team in the National League used a pair of bunt singles in the ninth inning to squeeze out a 1-0 win against the Marlins on Saturday night at Marlins Park.Corey Dickerson popped a bunt toward second just out of the reach of Marlins closer Brad Ziegler
MIAMI -- The best-hitting team in the National League used a pair of bunt singles in the ninth inning to squeeze out a 1-0 win against the Marlins on Saturday night at Marlins Park.
Corey Dickerson popped a bunt toward second just out of the reach of Marlins closer Brad Ziegler that scored Starling Marte from third base with one out in the top of the ninth. Marte had reached on a perfectly executed bunt single two batters earlier and advanced to third on a single by Josh Bell that set the stage for Dickerson's game-winner.
"It kind of landed there in the middle. When it went up, I thought it was an out," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Up to that point, the game had been mostly dominated by pitching, particularly the starters for both teams.
Trevor Richards, making his third career start, was outstanding on the mound for the Marlins. He tamed the NL's best offense for seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits and one walk while striking out two. However, he exited the contest with the game scoreless.
"If you look at it as a whole, obviously, Trevor was really good today," Mattingly said of the right-hander who entered the game with a 8.64 ERA. "His first couple times out, he had been OK, and today I think we saw that command that we've talked about. He was able to spot the fastball enough to get himself ahead in the count. He used his breaking ball more tonight. I thought Bryan [Holaday] did a good job with him behind the plate making him use his pitches, so he was very clean."
Pirates starter Jameson Taillon was equally effective, limiting the Marlins to four hits over six shutout innings and lowering his ERA to 0.89.
The Pirates' only other serious scoring threat prior to the ninth was in fifth, when they had runners on first and third, but Richards was able to pitch out of the jam and keep the game scoreless.
The Marlins, meanwhile, squandered scoring chances in the second, fourth and eighth innings. Miami had Justin Bour at third in the bottom of the second, but Taillon struck out Holaday for the third out. Bour also reached third in the fourth but was left stranded 90 feet from home plate. Then, in the eighth, Brian Anderson laced a two-out single to center that moved Starlin Castro to third, but J.B. Shuck, the hero of Friday night's win, grounded out to second to end that threat.
Ziegler was visibly disappointed in front of his locker following the loss.
"I saw him square, I tried to throw it in on him," Ziegler said of Dickerson's bunt in the ninth. "That's what you're trying to do in a squeeze situation, make it where it's almost impossible for him to bunt on the ground. It just didn't work out. ... It's getting old making good pitches, getting the ball on the ground all day and giving up runs every time I'm out there. It just gets old.
"Bunt pop-up hit in a spot where we couldn't do anything. I don't think I had a play at first even if I did field it. It's just frustrating to be in this position and have chances to win games and [we] can't get it done."
There likely were many Marlins fans among the 26,816 in attendance who would echo those feelings.
"We had a couple of chances and just weren't able to cross the runners," Mattingly said. "Tough one, because it's one bounce here or there or someone making a play or someone getting a big hit."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
No-hit bid: Richards had a no-hitter working until Francisco Cervelli broke it up with a drive to left-center that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double with one out in the fifth inning.
"Coming in, we knew they were swinging early and often," Richards said of the Pirates hitters. "Game plan was to keep the ball down and try to get ground balls. … The first two [starts this season], I was trying to be too fine with the ball, I think, throwing a lot of balls early especially, getting behind in the count. Today, we flipped the script, attacking the zone and let them hit it.
"It's always tough when you lose 1-0. But, there's another game tomorrow."
HE SAID IT
"This kid added and subtracted way beyond his years tonight." -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, on Richards' performance
The rubber game of this three-game series will have Marlins right-hander Jose Urena trying to win for the first time this season. He'll face off against fellow right-hander Ivan Nova for the Pirates. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. ET. All players for both teams will wear No. 42 uniforms in honor of Jackie Robinson Day.
Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.