Pirates clinch 18th consecutive non-winning season

PITTSBURGH -- Alex Sanabia didn't change anything about his approach when he found out he would be facing a major league team instead of starting against one from the Pacific Coast League.

Sanabia pitched 7 2/3 innings of four-hit ball, Gaby Sanchez hit a three-run homer and the Florida Marlins beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 on Thursday night.

"That's why he's up here," Sanchez said of Sanabia after the Marlins won their third straight. "He went out there and shut them down."

Sanabia (2-1) allowed one run, struck out five and walked none in his fifth career start. The right-hander was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on Wednesday night after Sean West was scratched from his start due to right knee inflammation.

Sanabia was 6-1 with a 1.92 ERA in 16 minor-league starts this season. He has allowed one run or less in four of his five starts for the Marlins.

"I'm keeping things the same," said Sanabia, a 32nd-round draft pick in 2006. "When I'm up here, I'm still doing the same I do [in the minors]. I'm not changing anything."

Sanabia had allowed only two singles and had faced only one more than the minimum until Chris Snyder and Argenis Diaz hit consecutive two-out doubles in the eighth to chase him.

Clay Hensley struck out pinch-hitter Delwyn Young to end the inning. Leo Nunez allowed Andrew McCutchen's 12th homer before finishing for his 28th save and second in as many nights.

"[Sanabia] was outstanding," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "He was in New Orleans ready to start, and 24 hours later he's pitching seven shutout innings.

"He was throwing strikes with his changeup and slider. His slider looked so much better the second time around [in the majors], and his fastball and all his pitches were around the plate," he said.

McCutchen's homer was his third in four games for Pittsburgh (40-81). The Pirates' next defeat will ensure an 18th straight losing season, extending their record among all major North American professional sports.

"You just gotta stay positive, you know?" McCutchen said. "You just gotta keep going and keep moving."

Emilio Bonifacio walked and Logan Morrison singled ahead of Sanchez's first homer since July 30, a drive to center on a 1-2 pitch in Florida's four-run sixth to break a scoreless tie. Wes Helms added a two-out RBI single.

"The leadoff walk really hurt," Pirates manager John Russell said. "In a game like that, anytime you give up baserunners, it's not something you're looking for."

Pittsburgh starter Paul Maholm (7-12) left with two outs in Florida's big inning and was charged with four runs and eight hits. The left-hander has lost five of his past six starts, allowing 29 earned runs in 32 1/3 innings over the dismal stretch.

Pittsburgh has lost of 10 of 11 and 21 of 27 and owns baseball's worst record. The Pirates scored four runs over the final three games of the series.

"When the other guy's putting up zeros, you've got to put up zeros," Maholm said. "That's how it is right now. Would you love for the offense to bust out and put up eight? Sure, but it's not happening right now, unfortunately. I need to make some pitches, and I didn't do it."

Game notes
The Marlins improved to 7-0 in the fourth game of a series and 23-12 against left-handed starters. ... Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez rested. "I think it's obvious he's a little tired," Rodriguez said. ... Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno (left shoulder) missed his eighth consecutive start. Unlike the previous two days, however, he was not initially in the lineup only to be scratched just before game time. ... This is only the second series Florida has won in the 10-season history of PNC Park.