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Bucs scrounge up W with pair of 9th-inning bunts

Manufactured run enough to back up strong effort from Taillon, bullpen
Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- For the second consecutive night, Pittsburgh's hot-hitting lineup was neutralized by Marlins pitching. So the Bucs resorted to two bunt singles in the ninth inning to produce the game's only run in a 1-0 win over the Fish on Saturday at Marlins Park. The rubber match is set for Sunday afternoon on Jackie Robinson Day.

Starling Marte bunted for a single with one out in the ninth off Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler. And after a Josh Bell liner scooted under the glove of Marlins second baseman Starlin Castro, Corey Dickerson bunted for a single, scoring Marte with the game's lone run.

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MIAMI -- For the second consecutive night, Pittsburgh's hot-hitting lineup was neutralized by Marlins pitching. So the Bucs resorted to two bunt singles in the ninth inning to produce the game's only run in a 1-0 win over the Fish on Saturday at Marlins Park. The rubber match is set for Sunday afternoon on Jackie Robinson Day.

Starling Marte bunted for a single with one out in the ninth off Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler. And after a Josh Bell liner scooted under the glove of Marlins second baseman Starlin Castro, Corey Dickerson bunted for a single, scoring Marte with the game's lone run.

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"I walked up there and I knew that all I had to do was get the ball down and Marte was going to score and we were going to get the W," said Dickerson, who extended his hitting streak to nine games with the bunt single. "As long as it hit grass, Marte was going to score."

It proved that the Pirates don't necessarily need to mash the ball to win games, although for the most part, that's the way they've been doing it this season.

"We've talked about being unpredictable, and we were unpredictable," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Corey took it upon himself to make that play happen. It just shows you the selflessness. He's got an eight-game hitting streak coming into the game. But that's his mindset; he just wanted to help us win a game."

The Pirates didn't manage a hit off Marlins starter Trevor Richards until a one-out double by Francisco Cervelli in the fifth inning. The Pirates catcher laced a one-hopper over the left-field fence. It was the Bucs' only hit until Cervelli came through again in the seventh with a two-out single. Those were the only hits allowed by Richards, who went seven shutout innings.

"This kid added and subtracted way beyond his years tonight," Hurdle said of the Marlins hurler. "He pitched. He threw that changeup all night long and it played extremely well. Fastball had downhill angle. He was efficient."

Cervelli, who was hit by a pitch in the second inning, was Pittsburgh's only baserunner through seven innings, outside of an intentional walk to Jordy Mercer in the fifth.

Jameson Taillon turned in his second straight stellar outing. No, it wasn't a one-hit shutout as in his last outing, but it was another quality start -- the right-hander worked six innings, allowing four hits. He struck out two and walked three, running his scoreless innings streak to 15 while lowering his ERA for the season to 0.89.

From nearby Lakeland, Fla., Taillon had several family members in attendance.

"First time I loosened up in warm weather, it felt good. It's fun to pitch here. I like coming here," Taillon said.

Video: PIT@MIA: Taillon strikes out Castro with a curveball

Though his command was a little shaky, Taillon fought through, stranding seven Marlins on base during his stint.

"I let them crawl back into some counts," he said. "Three-ball counts were trying to haunt me all night. But I felt good and I grinded through six. It took everything tonight to get through it.

"That definitely wasn't my best stuff or my best executed game, but [Cervelli] stuck with me throughout the night. He's so good about feeling the flow of the game and working with the pitcher, seeing what's working for me. He's really observant and he's got a good feel of what's going to get us through it."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Taillon worked out of a bases-loaded situation in the fourth inning to keep the Marlins off the scoreboard, getting pinch-hitter Cameron Maybin hit a dribbler in front of the plate that Cervelli fielded and fired to first for the final out of the inning.

Video: PIT@MIA: Taillon escapes a bases-loaded jam in 4th

"The biggest thing for me is separating your emotions from executing," Taillon said. "I'm feeling like I'm pretty focused on the task at hand. Last year I might get fired up [in that situation] and leave a pitch over the middle."

SOUND SMART
Pittsburgh entered the game with no bunt hits for the season.

"It was about getting the W," said Dickerson. "I was hitting the ball pretty good earlier and it was going to people. That's kind of how the night was going. You get that feel and you've got to change it up. Marte changed it up a little. Ziegler's been around a long time, he can induce a double play better than anybody. I was trying to do something simple to win the ballgame for us."

HE SAID IT
"It takes a lot of ways to win a game. You can't draw that one up." -- Taillon, on the ninth-inning bunts that broke up a scoreless game that included solid starting pitching and bullpen help from both teams

"Basically, a good old-fashioned ballgame broke out tonight." -- Hurdle

UP NEXT
The Pirates look to cap the current seven-game road trip on a high note when they send right-hander Ivan Nova to the mound to face Miami ace Jose Urena in a 1:10 p.m. ET start. The Marlins have yet to solve Nova, who is 2-0 lifetime against the Fish with a 0.00 ERA in 15 innings over two career starts. Sunday is Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Pittsburgh Pirates