Kevin Correia and Jason Marquis have been pleasant surprises for
their respective teams early in 2011.
Each takes the mound looking to build on their respective
success as the Pittsburgh Pirates and visiting Washington Nationals
continue their three-game set Sunday.
Correia (3-1, 2.48 ERA), who went 29-36 with a 4.64 ERA as a
starter with San Francisco and San Diego over the previous four
years, signed with Pittsburgh (9-11) in the offseason – a move that
has provided immediate positive results.
The right-hander allowed two earned runs and four hits en route
to his first complete game of the season, a 9-3 victory at
Cincinnati on Monday. Last season, no Pirates starter won three
games prior to May 15.
“I threw a lot of fastballs,” Correia told the Pirates’ official
website. “You obviously want as many runs as possible, but it’s
hard to go up there and throw a lot of offspeed pitches and get
behind guys when you have that big of a lead. I threw a lot of
two-seam fastballs early, and I got people out early.”
Correia is 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA over three career starts versus
the Nationals (9-10). In his last start against them, he gave up
three hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 7-0 Padres win on Sept. 2,
Marquis (1-0, 3.26), meanwhile, gave up two runs and nine hits
in seven innings en route to earning his first victory in three
tries during Sunday’s 8-4 win over Milwaukee.
“I think as the game went on, (Marquis) got better and better
with his slider,” manager Jim Riggleman told Major League
Baseball’s official website. “He was getting ground balls and we
were making plays for him. It was a kind of classic Marquis
performance when he’s healthy.”
The right-hander has recorded a quality start in each of his
three outings after going 2-9 in an injury-plagued campaign in 2010
– his first with the Nationals.
Marquis, who is 11-6 with a 3.69 ERA lifetime as a starter
against Pittsburgh, has won four straight starts against the
Pirates while posting a 1.57 ERA, but will likely need the offense
to pick up its recent effort if he hopes to extend his winning
Jayson Werth hit his third homer for the Nationals, who couldn’t
get much else going offensively. They are batting .141 and have
totaled five runs during a season worst-tying three-game skid.
The Pirates also have failed to score with any consistency.
After getting shut out in the first two games of its road series
with Florida and falling 9-5 on Thursday, Pittsburgh recorded its
highest run total at home in 2011 by defeating Washington 7-2 on
Prior to that, the Pirates had averaged just 2.5 runs at PNC
Park, where they are now batting .190 after recording nine hits, a
season-high at home.
“We finally showed the home fans what we’re capable of doing,”
said Saturday’s winning pitcher Jeff Karstens, who allowed two runs
in six innings.
Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno went 2 for 4 with an RBI, and
outfielder Andrew McCutchen went 1 for 2 to break an 0-for-11 slump
with three runs and two stolen bases.
“Andrew is such a threat every time he gets on base,” manager
Clint Hurdle said.
Cedeno has six hits in 13 at-bats lifetime against Marquis while
McCutchen is 2 for 9.