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Pirates Beat Marlins 4-3, Are Now 12 Games Over .500

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PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 20:  Emilio Bonifacio #1 of the Miami Marlins slides safely into second base in front of Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 20, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 20: Emilio Bonifacio #1 of the Miami Marlins slides safely into second base in front of Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 20, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker homered as the Pirates beat the Marlins 4-3 in a squeaker.

Jose Reyes homered to lead off the game, and the Marlins scored another in the first when Emilio Bonifacio singled, scored second and third (getting a call on the slide into second), and then came home on a grounder. The Pirates got one back in the bottom of the inning when Alex Presley walked, moved to second on a single by Walker, then came home when Garrett Jones singled a grounder past Carlos Lee.

The Marlins went up 3-1 in the fourth when Omar Infante and John Buck singled, and Ricky Nolasco bunted a sacrifice that brought Infante home. In the bottom of the inning, though, Alvarez golfed a breaking ball (it didn't even look like he hit it that hard) for his 20th homer of the season. The next batter, Rod Barajas, socked a ground-rule double, and Clint Barmes singled him home. Bob Walk pointed out that Barajas was able to come home on Barmes' single because Barajas looked back at the outfield before the pitch and saw that there was no one in left center, where Barmes ended up hitting the ball. Barajas therefore got a great jump off second and never looked back.

The Pirates took the lead in the fifth on Walker's solo homer. Chris Resop came on after that. He put two men on in the seventh, but Jared Hughes relieved him and got a ground ball and a fly ball to strand both runners.

The Pirates caught a break in the eighth. Justin Ruggiano singled with one out, representing the tying run. When the next batter hit a grounder, Neil Walker reached out to tag Ruggiano and then threw to first for an inning-ending double-play. Replays showed that Walker missed Ruggiano completely, but the double play stood. Joel Hanrahan put two batters on in the ninth, but struck out Reyes and Bonifacio to end it.

The Pirates are now 52-40. The Reds beat the Brewers 3-1 today, so they remain a half-game up on the Bucs. The Cardinals currently lead the Cubs; for now, though, they're 5.5 games back.