Big inning backs JJ in first win since April 2011

Big inning backs JJ in first win since April 2011

Big inning backs JJ in first win since April 2011
MIAMI -- The Marlins finally got the big inning on offense they've been looking for, and Josh Johnson got his first win in 13 months, as Miami capped a five-game homestand with a 6-2 win against the Pirates in front of 24,242 at Marlins Park on Tuesday.

Johnson, whose last win came April 19, 2011, at Sun Life Stadium -- also against Pittsburgh -- tossed seven innings and held the Pirates to two runs on six hits. The righty, who missed most of last season with a right shoulder injury, went 12 starts between wins.

"I feel like it's been about two years," Johnson said.

On this night, though, there was little doubt Johnson would snap that streak, thanks to a big fourth inning.

The Marlins split their two-game set with the Pirates after taking two of three from the Mets.

On a night that Johnson's slider wasn't sharp, he relied heavily on his curveball to keep the Pirates off balance. Johnson gave the Marlins their 28th quality start of the season, which is tied with the Phillies for most in the Majors.

"It's nice to get a win for our team," Johnson said. "I just wanted to go up there and get deep in the game and make pitches. I did pretty well."

While getting Johnson back on track was key for Miami, it was also a big night for the offense, led by Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez. Infante matched his career high with four hits, which he's done nine times. The last was on Aug. 22, 2010, against the Cubs in Chicago. He finished the game 4-for-5 with two RBIs. All four of his hits were singles. Ramirez went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs.

Both hitters helped key the breakthrough fourth inning for the Marlins.

Giancarlo Stanton got things going with a leadoff walk, which was followed by back-to-back singles from Greg Dobbs and Emilio Bonifacio to load the bases for John Buck. The Marlins have struggled with runners in scoring position this season, entering the game last in the league with a .201 average in those situations. That wasn't the case Tuesday, though, as Buck hit a two-run single to give Miami the lead.

After a Johnson sacrifice bunt and a Jose Reyes intentional walk, Infante knocked in two more runs with a single, and Ramirez capped off the scoring with an RBI double off the top of the right-field wall. Ramirez's double chased Pirates starter Kevin Correia from the game after 3 2/3 innings.

"I got a few ground balls in that last inning that were just hit a little too hard," Correia said. "I just wasn't getting the pitch quite where it needed to be. A few inches away and I'm getting the softer ground balls that I am looking for, but they were on it enough to get them into holes. That's a pretty good lineup and they're going to take advantage of that."

In all, Miami plated five runs in the fourth and batted around to quickly turn a 1-1 game into a 6-1 affair. The five runs were the second most the Marlins have scored in an inning this season, just behind Sunday's six-run ninth.

The Pirates put together a two-out rally against Johnson in the first, with Andrew McCutchen drawing a walk before coming around to score two batters later thanks to back-to-back singles from Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones.

The Marlins, who have struggled offensively and have been overly aggressive at times, answered in the bottom of the frame thanks to a few patient at-bats. After Reyes drew a leadoff walk and Infante reached on a fielder's choice, Ramirez capped an eight-pitch at-bat with an RBI double to the left-field corner on a full count to plate Infante.

After the Marlins grabbed the lead in the fourth, Johnson settled in, retiring nine straight between the third and sixth innings. The Pirates added another run in the seventh on a solo homer from Michael McKenry before Johnson recorded his final out. He finished the night with six strikeouts and just one walk.

"He's a bulldog out there," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He's going to give you the best he can, and hopefully this is the start of a good summer for him."

The win helped the Marlins finish their homestand with a winning record, going 3-2. They have won 11 of 14 games this month, and now travel to Atlanta to kick off a five-game road trip Wednesday.

"We're playing good right now," Ramirez said. "Everybody is doing a little bit. It's good when you've got everybody doing their job on the field."

Tom Green is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.