Miami, FL – Henderson Alvarez spun six scoreless innings to help lift the Miami Marlins past the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-0, in the opener of a three-game set.
Alvarez (1-1) had an impressive outing, scattering just two hits and a walk while fanning five. It's his first win in his last eight starts, with his last victory coming on Sept. 13, 2012 against Seattle.
Steve Cishek left runners on the corners in the ninth to earn his 21st save of the season.
"He has done a phenomenal job in big situations," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond about Cishek. "He has been able to get some big outs."
Giancarlo Stanton finished 2-for-2 with a solo home run, while Placido Polanco drove in the other run for the Marlins, who have won four of their last five.
Despite surrendering just two earned runs, Jeff Locke (9-3) was saddled with the loss. He allowed eight hits, walked six and recorded a career-high nine strikeouts.
"I felt really good, just the command wasn't there again tonight," Locke admitted.
Gaby Sanchez collected the only extra-base hit for the Pirates, who have lost two in a row.
After recording the first out in the sixth, Locke ran into trouble for the first time. Donovan Solano drew a walk, followed by a Jake Marisnick single up the middle. Jeff Mathis was then walked to load the bases. A pinch-hitting Polanco hit a slow roller to third for an infield base hit to score Solano for the first run of the game.
Stanton crushed a belt-high fastball over the left-field wall in the seventh to give the Marlins a two-run advantage.
The Pirates had a chance in the eighth with a one-out double from Sanchez that chased reliever Mike Dunn. Chad Qualls took the mound and struck out Michael McKenry with Sanchez on third to end the threat.
Back-to-back two-out singles gave the Pirates hope in the ninth before Cishek got pinch-hitter Jose Tabata to ground out to end the game.
Miami has won 14 of the last 19 matchups against the Pirates ... Miami went 1- for-6 with runners in scoring position, while Pittsburgh finished 0-for-6 ... Pittsburgh's Jordy Mercer extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games, going 1-for-2 ... Locke has allowed 3 earned runs or less in 17 straight starts.