Venezuelan-born right-hander Anibal Sanchez can stay unbeaten for the season and keep his team's successful May going tonight when the Miami Marlins host the Pittsburgh Pirates to begin a two-game series at Marlins Park.
Miami won all six meetings with Pittsburgh a year ago and is unbeaten in the past eight encounters with the Pirates.
Miami won for the 10th time in 12 games this month on Sunday when it got a walk-off grand slam from Giancarlo Stanton to defeat the New York Mets, 8-4, in the rubber match of a three-game home set.
Stanton's second career walk-off homer came after the Mets pulled ahead in the top of the ninth against embattled reliever Heath Bell (2-3).
New York broke a 2-2 tie when pinch-hitter Justin Turner delivered a two-out, two-run double to right field with the bases loaded.
Frank Francisco (1-3) faltered when asked to preserve the Mets' lead. For the second time in three innings, Emilio Bonifacio led off with a triple and John Buck, who launched a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh off Ramon Ramirez, worked a walk before a pinch-hitting Greg Dobbs stroked an RBI single to center.
An ineffective Francisco departed without retiring a batter and was ejected after giving home plate umpire Todd Tichenor an earful on his way out. Manny Acosta took the mound and ex-Met Jose Reyes plated pinch-runner Brett Hayes with a sacrifice fly to center.
After Omar Infante popped out, Acosta walked Hanley Ramirez before hitting Austin Kearns with a pitch to load the bases. Stanton crushed Acosta's next offering to deep left-center field for his third career grand slam.
"That was one of those no doubters right off the bat," Stanton said.
Stanton and Bonifacio finished with three hits apiece for Miami.
Sanchez, who won eight games in 32 starts for the Marlins last season after winning 13 times in 32 starts a season earlier, is unbeaten in six outings this season while pitching at least seven innings four times.
He's allowed just 12 runs on 31 hits in 40 1/3 composite innings while defeating Philadelphia and San Francisco and picking up four no-decisions.
The Marlins are 4-2 in games he's pitched.
Sanchez went seven innings and gave up a pair of unearned runs in his most recent start on May 8 in Houston, but didn't figure in the verdict of a 3-2 Miami loss.
He's 2-1 in three career starts against Pittsburgh with a 1.64 earned run average.
The Pirates counter with right-hander Brad Lincoln, who makes his first start of 2012 and the 18th of his three-season big-league career.
The Texas native, who'll turn 27 later this month, gets the call in place of veteran Erik Bedard, who left a May 9 outing against Washington with back spasms and isn't ready to return.
Lincoln entered that game in relief of Bedard and pitched three innings of one-hit ball while picking up the win in a 4-2 Pirates triumph.
He's allowed one earned run in 14 1/3 innings of relief work across seven appearances this season and is 3-7 with a 5.54 ERA in 17 career starts.
On Sunday in Pittsburgh, Josh Harrison smacked a game-winning single in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Pirates a 3-2 victory over the Astros in the finale of a three-game weekend series.
Clint Barmes led off the frame with a double into left off Fernando Rodriguez (1-4) before Harrison lofted a single into left, allowing Barmes to score from second as the Pirates wrapped up a nine-game homestand at 5-4.
"That was a huge at-bat," Barmes said of Harrison's hit. "I couldn't be happier for him. Those are fun games to play, especially when you end up on the winning side of things."
Tony Watson (3-0) got the victory after tossing a scoreless top of the 12th while starter A.J. Burnett yielded just two runs on six hits while striking out four over eight innings of work.