Maholm sunk by homers vs. Marlins

Long balls sink Maholm vs. Marlins

PITTSBURGH -- Florida right-hander Sergio Mitre continued his hex on the Pittsburgh Pirates as he hurled the Marlins to a 9-3 victory at PNC Park on Tuesday night for a crowd of 12,769.

Mitre tossed 7 2/3 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits as he grabbed the win, upping his record to 1-2. Coming into the game, Mitre had not allowed a single run in three of his last four starts against the Bucs.

"To the credit of Mitre, he continued to make good pitches," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "He had a very good sinker, and you could tell by some of the ground balls that we were hitting. To his credit, he kept making quality pitches."

Mitre was on his game, throwing 99 pitches, 63 of them for strikes.

Pirates outfielder Jason Bay said that Mitre was extremely effective.

"He was throwing a pretty good sinker," said Bay. "He was keeping the ball over the plate and it was very much the same as his last start, just keeping the ball down. The sinker is a tough pitch to hit and he pitched well."

Bucs lefty Paul Maholm took the loss, falling to 2-5 on the season. He was tagged for five runs on seven hits, including three home runs.

"What was unfortunate about tonight was the fact that the game got away from Maholm quickly," Tracy explained. "He was cruising along and he was pitching very, very well.

"He made a bad pitch to Uggla, he got a ball out and over the plate to Ramirez, he made a bad pitch to Hermida and they've got four runs just like that."

Pittsburgh struck first in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs, Chris Duffy swiped second base. An error by Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez on a Jack Wilson groundball allowed Duffy to score an unearned run and staked the Pirates to a 1-0 lead.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Ramirez atoned for his mistake when he sent Maholm's first offering in the fourth inning into the right-center field stands. It was Ramirez's fifth homer and tied the score at 1.

In the top of the sixth inning, Maholm surrendered his second home run of the game -- a two-run shot by Dan Uggla. Florida scored again as Ramirez singled, advanced on a fly ball, stole third and scored on a grounder. Jeremy Hermida then tagged Maholm for home run to right field to give Florida a 5-1 lead.

The long ball continued to plague Maholm. In his last game, he gave up three round trippers to the Cubs, and he has surrendered 10 on the season.

The rash of home runs has puzzled Maholm.

"I'll just put it behind me and go after the next one," Maholm stated. "I have no clue why, all of the sudden, the home runs are coming. It's one of those things and I'll talk to [pitching coach] Jim Colborn about. Maybe [it is] pitch sequence. I have no clue. It's just one of those things."

Uggla crushed his second two-run home run of the game in the seventh inning, this one coming off Pirates reliever Marty McLeary.

The Pirates nicked Mitre for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ryan Doumit singled and Adam LaRoche doubled. Doumit scored on a wild pitch and LaRoche scampered home on a Xavier Nady sacrifice fly.

Florida salted it away with two runs in the eighth. Aaron Boone stroked a two-run single to complete the scoring.

The loss snapped the Pirates' modest two-game winning streak.

A positive for Pittsburgh was a single and a double for LaRoche, who has struggled all season.

"That's a positive sign," Tracy opined. "He stayed behind the ball better tonight. His first at-bat was a good one, the line drive that he hit. The second hit that he got was a two-strike base hit, not pretty, but very effective because he hit a pitcher's pitch with two-strikes on him. You hope that continues."

George Von Benko is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.