Rookie Vargas collects first major-league victory

MIAMI (AP) -- Jason Vargas' first major-league win came as a bit
of a surprise to him.

Vargas pitched three scoreless innings following a second rain
delay and Juan Encarnacion and Damion Easley homered, leading the
Florida Marlins over the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 on Wednesday night.

Vargas (1-0), who allowed a one-out walk to Matt Lawton in the
fifth, retired nine of the 10 batters he faced in his fourth
appearance since being called up from Double-A Carolina on July 14.

"It hasn't sunk in yet. I didn't realize I was going to get the
win until someone said something," Vargas said. "It's a unique
feeling, it's only happened once."

He struck out five of the first six batters he faced after
taking over from starter Ismael Valdez.

"He's been outstanding since he's been here," Marlins manager
Jack McKeon said. "He's something special. Of all the kids we've
brought up, he's something special."

Encarnacion hit his 15th homer, a two-run shot in the fourth,
off Ryan Vogelsong (0-1). Easley hit a solo shot, his eighth, off
Salomon Torres in the seventh.

"It always feels good to contribute," said Easley, who made
his fourth consecutive start in place of injured shortstop Alex
Gonzalez. "When I'm in there they count on me to help out and I'm
glad to have been able to do that."

Pirates rookie Chris Duffy had three hits, including an RBI
single in the seventh. Duffy, who went 4-for-5 in Pittsburgh's 6-3
win on Tuesday, singled and tripled in his first two at-bats to
give him six consecutive hits.

"I'm just trying not to think too much," Duffy said. "I'm
trying to be relaxed and it's working out."

Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 19

Florida won for the fifth time in seven games. The Marlins, who
had lost eight of their nine previous meetings with the Pirates,
used Antonio Alfonseca -- who allowed three hits, including Duffy's
RBI single -- Guillermo Mota and Jones for an inning apiece
following Vargas.

"This is the way we envisioned using the bullpen," said
McKeon, who had a 10-minute meeting following the game that
included owner Jeffrey Loria and GM Larry Beinfest. "With Mota out
and Alfonseca out we haven't been able to. Hopefully everyone will
be able to stay healthy, and maybe we get one more guy and we can
keep using the bullpen this way."

The game started 40 minutes late as a result of a pregame
downpour that caused puddles to form in the outfield of the
normally quick-draining Dolphins Stadium turf.

Neither starter returned after a second shower interrupted the
game for 42 minutes midway through the third.

"Any time you lose your starter it's going to hurt you, and
certainly tonight it was very disappointing," Pittsburgh manager
Lloyd McClendon said.

Pirates rookie left-hander Zach Duke pitched two scoreless
innings, lowering his ERA from 0.93 to 0.87, but didn't return
after the second delay.

"I was a little anxious," Duke said of the wait. "I want to
go out there and I want to compete but they're just trying to
protect my arm."

Valdez allowed four hits in three innings in his first start of
the season. He allowed one run in two relief innings after he
returned from a hairline fracture of his right fibula

"I feel fine physically," Valdez said. "If it hadn't been for
the weather, I could have gone longer. It was a good workout. The
bottom line is we won. We needed this game. Everybody contributed

Game notes
Torres, catcher Humberto Cota and third baseman Freddy
Sanchez looked on in the seventh as Mike Lowell's popup to the left
of home plate landed just inside the third base line before the
ball rolled foul. Lowell hit Torres' next pitch into the left-field
corner and was initially ruled safe when he reached around second
baseman Jose Castillo's tag to grab the base but was out when he
overslid. ... Marlins first baseman Carlos Delgado went 0-for-3
with a walk to end a 12-game hitting streak. ... Marlins pitchers
combined for 13 strikeouts.