By Steven Wine
Henderson Alvarez earned his first National League victory, Giancarlo Stanton hit his 12th homer, and the Miami Marlins managed another low-scoring victory, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0 on Friday night.
The Marlins are 4-4 since the All-Star break even though they have totaled only 15 runs.
Jeff Locke (9-3) allowed only one earned run in 6 2-3 innings and had a career-high nine strikeouts, but he lost for the first time in his past 10 road starts. His ERA rose to 2.15.
Alvarez (1-1) gave up just two hits in six innings and lowered his ERA to 2.64. The game was his fifth after he sat out the first half of the season with right shoulder inflammation.
The shutout was only the third by the Marlins, but their starters have an ERA of 2.44 since the All-Star break.
Steve Cishek, Miami’s fifth pitcher, gave up a pair of two-out singles in the ninth inning but earned his 21st save in 23 chances, including 16 in a row. He retired pinch-hitter Jose Tabata on a groundout with two on to end the game, completing a five-hitter.
Pittsburgh managed only six baserunners, including one erased on a double play, and went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Pirates struck out six times in the final three innings against Marlins relievers.
Stanton led off the seventh inning with a homer and finished 2 for 2 with two walks in four trips to the plate.
Miami broke a scoreless tie in the sixth. Locke gave up two walks sandwiched around a single by rookie Jake Marisnick, his first major-league hit. With the bases loaded and one out, Marlins manager Mike Remond pinch-hit for Alvarez, and Placido Polanco tapped a dribbler toward third for an RBI infield hit.
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez charged to field the ball but made no throw.
The Marlins had a hit in each of the first five innings, but during that stretch they grounded into a double play and had two runners thrown out. Pirates catcher Russell Martin absorbed a blow when he tagged out Jeff Mathis, who was trying to score from first on Alvarez’s two-out double in the second inning.
Jordy Mercer extended his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games with a single in the third. That was the Pirates’ lone hit until Starling Marte reached on a bunt single with two out in the sixth.