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Pirates steal home, outlast Braves, 8-4

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates had a five-run first inning and waited out a rain delay en route to an 8-4 victory over the Braves Saturday.

Charlie Morton pitched a scoreless first for the Bucs, but only after Gregory Polanco and Neil Walker gunned down Nick Markakis at the plate to end the inning. (Well, mostly it was Walker -- Polanco took forever to get his throw to the infield.)

Julio Teheran got Josh Harrison to start the bottom of the first, but it would be awhile before he would record another out. He put Walker and Andrew McCutchen on base with one out. Starling Marte slashed a single to left to bring home one run, and Pedro Alvarez knocked a double into the gap for two more. Francisco Cervelli singled home Alvarez, Polanco walked, and Jordy Mercer brought home a run with a soft liner before Teheran finally got Charlie Morton on a sacrifice bunt. Harrison then whiffed, bookending the inning by making the first and third outs.

The way McCutchen reached, by the way, was on a hit by pitch -- Teheran's fastball struck him in the elbow. McCutchen left the game, although X-rays were negative, and the injury doesn't appear serious. McCutchen wasn't thrilled about the HBP, however.

The Braves got back one run in the third, but the Pirates added a bit of insurance in the fifth on a rare steal of home. Marte singled, moved to second on Alvarez's single, and then up to third on Cervelli's fly ball. Then Alvarez got caught between first and second and did a nice job staying alive long enough for Marte to successfully get to the plate. Both runners ended up safe.

Morton finally came apart in the seventh, allowing a bases-clearing double to Jace Peterson, and he was replaced by Arquimedes Caminero. On the whole, though, it wasn't a bad start for Morton, who struck out six and walked none.

In the bottom of the inning, Marte led off with another single, and his attempt to steal second resulted in one of the more ridiculous slides you'll ever see. (This was, surely, one of Marte's more exciting baserunning games in awhile.)

Fortunately, Marte survived and ended up taking second anyway on Nick Masset's wild pitch. Cervelli lined a double to right to score Marte, then came home himself when Mercer dropped a single into shallow center.

Deolis Guerra made his big league debut in the ninth and pitched a scoreless inning. He gave up a one-out double to Pedro Ciriaco, but he froze Peterson with a breaking ball for his first big-league strikeout, then got Cameron Maybin to ground out. He looks like a different kind of pitcher than the type you most often see in big league bullpens nowadays -- he only throws in the low 90s, but he has an excellent changeup, and it looks like he's going to rely on it to a degree that's become very rare. If he ends up sticking with the Pirates for awhile, I'm not sure he's likely to have massive success, but he'll be fun to watch.