Corey Dickerson's 9th-inning bunt brings Pirates win over Marlins
MIAMI — Corey Dickerson has been one of the hottest hitters in the National League.
So when he stepped to the plate for the Pirates in the ninth inning of a scoreless game, with runners at the corners and one out, his teammates were sure he'd swing away.
Instead, Dickerson bunted. And it worked, barely.
Dickerson popped up a bunt, but it landed in between Miami Marlins pitcher Brad Ziegler and second baseman Starlin Castro and allowed a run to score Saturday night that gave the Pirates a 1-0 win over the Marlins.
“I knew all I had to do was get the ball down, and (Starling) Marte is going to score with the ‘W.' Be selfless and give myself up, and we'd win the ballgame,” Dickerson said. “It was as simple as that. I wanted to win. I hate losing. I was trying to do something simple to get the ‘W.' ”
Dickerson extended his hitting streak to nine games. He is 16 for 36 (.444) with nine RBIs during that span.
“I think some of the guys couldn't believe I did it because I had a hit streak going or I never bunt or it's easy time to try to drive in runs,” Dickerson said. “But Ziegler has been around a long time, and he can induce a double play better than anybody and I was trying to do something simple and try to win the ball game for us.”
The decision by Dickerson surprised Hurdle.
“Corey took it upon himself to make that play happen, and it just shows you the selflessness,” Hurdle said. “He's got an eight-game hitting streak coming into the game. I talked to him, (and) he said, ‘With Marte on, all I have to do is get the ball on the ground.' It would have looked a little more refreshing for me if it would have gone on the ground initially, but that's his mindset. He just wanted to help us win a ballgame.”
Pirates starter Jameson Taillon and Miami counterpart Trevor Richards kept the game scoreless into the later innings.
“Basically, just a good old-fashioned ballgame broke out tonight,” Hurdle said.
Ziegler (0-3) retired the first batter in the Pirates' ninth before Starling Marte reached on a bunt hit. Josh Bell followed with an infield hit that sent Marte to third before Dickerson's bunt.
“It's getting old,” Ziegler said. “I'm making good pitches, getting the ball on the ground all day and giving up runs every time out there. It just gets old.”
The Pirates had just two hits, both by Francisco Cervelli, entering the ninth. They improved to 10-4.
A crowd of 26,816 watched the pitching duel.
George Kontos (1-1) worked a scoreless inning in relief, and Felipe Vazquez tossed a flawless ninth for his fifth save in five opportunities.
Taillon threw six scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 0.89 in three starts and has thrown 15 consecutive shutout innings. He allowed four hits and three walks, striking out two.
“It took everything tonight to get through,” Taillon said. “Quite honestly, I didn't feel that great. It definitely wasn't my best stuff or best-executed game.”
Richards pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing two hits and one walk. He struck out two while throwing 49 of his 82 pitches for strikes.
Miami stranded a runner on third base in the second, fourth, and eighth innings.
“It's one of those games where you're looking for a big hit, or get a break here or there, but if you look at it as a whole, obviously Trevor was really good today,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Right-handed pitcher Ivan Nova (1-1, 5.19) will start the series finale Sunday. Nova has won both of his starts against the Marlins without allowing an earned run in 15 innings.
Marlins righty Jose Urena (0-2, 5.06), who has allowed six runs in 15 innings for a 3.60 ERA since allowing three runs in the first inning to the Cubs on opening day, starts Sunday for Miami.