Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 7/23/12

The Pirates finished off a fantastic weekend at PNC Park with a shutout to sweep away the Miami Marlins. The 3-0 win puts the Bucs at 54-40, a half game behind the Reds (still) but 2.5 games ahead of Atlanta in the NL Wild Card standings.

Jeff Karstens got off to a very rocky start in an ugly first inning, but he escaped with a zero and cruised for the next five innings. Karstens overcame a few infield singles, a missed DP, and a couple walks (a pickoff of Jose Reyes proved crucial). Once Gregg Dobbs lined out to end the inning, though, Jeff got back in the zone and went back to his old efficient self, facing the minimum in innings 2-6.

The Pirates took a quick lead in the bottom of the first when Alex Presley led off with a hit, stole second, and scored on an Andrew McCutchen line drive single. Anibal Sanchez also locked it down after that, though, and kept the Bucs quiet through the sixth as well. The game was moving along at a brisk pace and seemed like it very well could end up 1-0.

The Marlins threatened in the seventh, though, after Logan Morrison led off with a single and stole second with one out. Dobbs then lined one to left, and Presley dove and smothered it with the glove. It was initially ruled a catch, but after Ozzie Guillen argued and the umps gathered, it was (correctly) ruled a hit. Morrison had to stay at second, though, and the next batter rolled one right to Pedro Alvarez, who helped convert an inning ending double play. Karstens gave a big fist pump and PNC exploded as Jeff worked himself out of the jam to preserve the lead.

The momentum carried into the bottom of the inning. Casey McGehee lined a double to right, and Alvarez just demolished a low-and-inside curveball into the RF seats for what was essentially a game-sealing two run shot. It was his 21st homer, which ties him with Carlos Beltran for third in the NL (McCutchen is second, Ryan Braun is first).

Jared Hughes and Joel Hanrahan finished things up with no problems, so the Jolly Rogers and brooms waved throughout PNC with delight. If you haven’t been down to the park to take this all in, you need to change that. This is a blast.

Pirates 3, Marlins 0 / Box / 2012 Record: 54-40 / Next: Monday, vs. Cubs, 7:05

MVP: Karstens (+.384) / LVP: Walker (-.061) / Key play: The DP in the 7th

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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