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PIT@MIA: Lincoln tosses six innings of two-run ball

MIAMI -- An Opening Day starter is usually tough to replace, but Brad Lincoln did a good job filling in for Erik Bedard against the Marlins on Monday.

Lincoln threw six strong innings as the Pirates beat the Marlins, 3-2, before 25,666 at Marlins Park.

"I was going out there and giving them what I've got," Lincoln said. "For me, it was about going out there and attacking the zone. Be efficient, try to get some quick innings and go deep into the game to save the bullpen a bit. For the most part, I did that."

Bucs manager Clint Hurdle was hoping to get about 60 pitches from Lincoln in his first start since Sept. 24, 2011. But the 27-year-old right-hander was able to go six innings, throwing 80 pitches as he held the Marlins to a pair of runs on four hits while striking out three.

"That's a big-time effort," Hurdle said. "We could not have asked for anything more. To get to 80 pitches on a hot night, and that club is coming off a big win last night so they're feeling good up there. He was excellent."

Hanley Ramirez was the only Marlin to do significant damage against Lincoln, smacking a solo homer in the first. But the Pirates' shuffled lineup gave Lincoln some early run support against Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez.

"We found a way to score some runs off a pitcher we hardly have gotten any runs off of," Hurdle said.

Jose Tabata led off the game with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Andrew McCutchen. An inning later, Rod Barajas' solo homer gave the Bucs a 2-1 lead.

Emilio Bonifacio's fourth-inning single to center was the final hit Lincoln allowed. The base hit drove home Logan Morrison and tied the game at 2.

"The one pitch he might want back was the 2-1 pitch to Bonifacio," Hurdle said. "We were trying to pitch him six to eight inches off the plate, and that one ended up down the middle for the second run."

The Bucs took the lead for good in the sixth, when Alvarez's double to left allowed the speedy McCutchen to score from first. While connecting on the game-winning hit, Alvarez also collected his 100th career RBI.

"It's nice when we can get some timely hits to help our pitching," Alvarez said. "Our pitching has been outstanding and we've been losing some games because of lack of run support."

The Marlins threatened in the eighth, getting runners on first and third with one out. But Jason Grilli retired Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton to hold the lead and help give Lincoln the win.

"That's another big-time effort for Grilli to run one through five through their lineup in the eighth inning," Hurdle said. "He's done that a number of times this year, where he's gone through the leverage part of the lineup to get the ball to the closer. Those last two batters, the fastback ramped up to 93, 94 and 95 [mph]. That's not easy work to get the last two guys that he did over there in Morrison and Stanton."

The Pirates had lost eight consecutive games against the Marlins coming into Monday. Hurdle addressed the streak before the game with his players, and he is happy to see them snap it.

"We haven't beat them in a long time and we don't get many runs off Sanchez, so what a great combination," Hurdle said.

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