PITTSBURGH (AP) - It all fell apart in a hurry for James McDonald.
The right-hander was working on a shutout with two down in the fifth inning Sunday. Then the Florida Marlins scored all four of their runs and McDonald was out of the game without recording another out for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Javier Vazquez added to his last-season surge by pitching six scoreless innings, helping Florida complete a season sweep with a 4-1 victory.
While McDonald's downfall seemed sudden, Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said the 26-year-old right-hander was working too slowly.
``It was too methodical,' Hurdle said. ``There was too much down time instead of getting on the mound, getting the sign and making the next pitch. It's something he's going to have to incorporate to take the next step.'
Vazquez (10-11) opened the fifth with a walk and scored on Gregg Dobbs' two-out double. Gaby Sanchez then singled home Dobbs and Bryan Petersen walked ahead of Donnie Murphy, who chased McDonald with a two-run double to center.
``It was all started with the walk to the pitcher, which has been going on for two weeks with our staff and is maddening,' Hurdle said. ``That has got to stop.'
Vazquez was running on a 1-1 pitch when Dobbs hit his double.
``I wish Dobber wouldn't have hit the ball because I wanted the stolen base,' joked Vazquez, who has no steals in his 14-year career.
McDonald allowed five hits, walked four and struck out three. He is 5-2 with a 3.27 ERA in 15 home starts this season.
``I lost my rhythm a little bit,' McDonald said. ``I got behind in the count and when you walk hitters you're going to play. I wasn't aggressive as I needed to be.'
Vazquez struck out seven, allowed three hits and walked two while improving to 4-2 with a 1.95 ERA in his last nine starts. The 35-year-old right-hander, who has talked about retiring at the end of the season, went 3-8 with a 6.85 ERA in his first 14 starts of the season.
``He's pitched great since that rough start,' Florida catcher Brett Hayes said. ``He's been amazing. He just knows how to pitch.'
Florida won for the sixth time in eight games and improved to 6-0 against the Pirates this year, including all three games this weekend for its first series sweep in Pittsburgh since 2000, the year before PNC Park opened. The Marlins have won 14 of their last 16 against Pittsburgh overall.
Leo Nunez pitched a perfect ninth for his 34th save in 40 opportunities.
Jason Jaramillo hit a two-out RBI single in the seventh to snap Pittsburgh's 16-inning scoreless drought. The Pirates moved within two losses of clinching their 19th straight losing season.
Anibal Sanchez threw a one-hit shutout against the Pirates on Saturday night.
NOTES: Pittsburgh C Ryan Doumit left after five innings with a bruised chest, which he injured when he was crossed up by a pitch from McDonald in the fourth. . Florida was without its starting outfield of LF Logan Morrison (bruised left knee), CF Mike Cameron (strained right hamstring) and RF Mike Stanton (strained right hamstring) for a second straight game. Morrison's knee was still swollen after he crashed into the side wall while making a catch Friday night. ... Keystone, the Clinton County, Pa.-based team that was the darling of the Little League World Series last month, was honored in a pregame ceremony. ... The Marlins open a three-game series at Atlanta on Monday night while Pittsburgh starts a three-game set against St. Louis. Florida RHP Chris Volstad (5-12, 5.37 ERA) will face RHP Brandon Beachy (7-2, 3.29 ERA). Volstad is 0-4 with a 4.60 ERA in five starts since returning from Triple-A New Orleans. Pirates RHP Brad Lincoln (1-2, 3.53 ERA) will start against RHP Kyle Lohse (13-8, 3.59 ERA). Lincoln has a 2.70 ERA in five starts since being moved into the rotation from the bullpen.
The Associated Press News Service
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