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Ground Chuck returns in Pirates' 4-2 win over Miami

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Morton was in classic form in his first 2015 outing for the Pirates, pitching them to a 4-2 win over the Marlins.  Morton induced 16 ground outs, including two double play balls, to no air outs over seven innings.  What's more, he was surprisingly efficient, throwing only 87 pitches, 63 of them for strikes, with no walks.

The game started off in frustrating fashion, as often happens with Morton when the grounders aren't going in the right places.  Dee Gordon led off with an infield hit, stole second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a groundball single by Giancarlo Stanton, who drove in both Marlins' runs.  Morton didn't really have a great deal of trouble after that, even though he allowed eight hits.  About half of them were on the ground.  One that wasn't was an opposite field HR by Stanton in the 3rd that temporarily left the Pirates with a one-run lead.

The Pirates had the lead at that point thanks to Francisco Cervelli's first Pirate HR.  It, too, was an opposite-field shot, following singles by Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez.  The game's final run came on Alvarez' ninth HR, yet another opposite-field smash that just skimmed over the fence and survived replay review.  The Pirates' offense came entirely from the bottom two-thirds of the order, as the #4-8 hitters (Starling Marte, Walker, Alvarez, Cervelli and Jordy Mercer) each had two hits.

Tony Watson gave up just a hit in the 8th, then the much-lamented Mark Melancon picked up his 11th save with a perfect 9th.  Melancon's fastball was 91 mph consistently.  The win got the Pirates back to .500.