- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Jeff Karstens pitched six sharp innings, Freddy Sanchez homered and the surging Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Florida Marlins 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Karstens allowed one run and three hits for the Pirates, who lead the league in ERA and have won four of their last five games. Sanchez finished with three hits.

Cameron Maybin hit his first National League homer for Florida, which has lost two straight against the Pirates after opening the season with an 11-1 stretch.

Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his fourth save.

Karstens (1-0) won for the first time since Aug. 6, when he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning at Arizona. Karstens, acquired from the New York Yankees in the Xavier Nady trade in July, didn’t allow a run in his first two Pirates starts but had been 0-6 since.

The Pirates scored in each of the first three innings to build a 3-1 lead. Adam LaRoche drove in Nyjer Morgan with a first-inning single, and Jason Jaramillo picked up his first major league RBI with a run-scoring double in the second.

Sanchez led off the third with a drive to left-center off Anibal Sanchez (1-1). The 2006 batting champion is hitting .476 (10-for-21) over his last five games.

Maybin got Florida within one with a leadoff shot in the eighth that traveled an estimated 447 feet. The Marlins put two runners on later in the inning but John Grabow retired Hanley Ramirez on a popup and struck out Ross Gload to end the threat.

Sanchez allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings. Ramirez doubled in John Baker in the third for Florida.

Notes:@ Marlins 1B Jorge Cantu was scratched with a sore wrist. Gload took his place at first base and in the cleanup spot in the lineup. … Pittsburgh’s Andy LaRoche has eight hits in his past 19 at-bats after beginning the season in a 0-for-18 slump. … The announced crowd was 9,917, but the number of fans in the seats was less than half that on a cool, soggy night in which the city’s sports attention was with the NHL Penguins, who played the Flyers in a playoff game in Philadelphia.

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