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Moehler wins first since July as Pirates drop 2-of-3 to Marlins

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Brian Moehler ended a slump that probably
seemed without end.

Moehler won for the first time in 23 games since July, taking a
shutout into the eighth inning as Florida opened an early eight-run
lead in beating the Pirates 8-2 Sunday.

"Thanks for remembering that," Moehler said, smiling, when
reminded that he hadn't won since July 20 -- a stretch that included
14 starts and eight relief appearances.

By taking two of three, the Marlins won a series of three or
more games for the first time this season. The Marlins (11-24) no
longer have the NL's worst record, a distinction that now belongs
to the Pirates (11-27).

"Everything was bad all the way around," Pirates starter Ian
Snell said.

He was talking about his performance, though he could have been
referring to their season.

Miguel Cabrera, the only proven veteran hitter in a Marlins
lineup that features mostly rookies, hit a three-run homer during a
five-run second inning against Snell (2-3) that helped make it 8-0.
Joe Borchard hit a solo drive in the first. Snell hadn't allowed an
earned run in his previous two starts at home, only to give up
seven runs and seven hits in 1 1-3 innings.

Those are numbers more often associated with Moehler (1-4), who
came into the game with some of the worst numbers of any starting
pitcher in the majors -- an 0-4 record, 9.76 ERA and .368 opponents
batting average.

But the right-hander was in control from the start against the
Pirates, not giving up a run until Jose Bautista hit his second
career homer, and second of the series, leading off the eighth for
Pittsburgh's first extra-base hit.

Moehler (1-4) was lifted after giving up eight hits and two
runs, striking out one and walking one in 7 1-3 innings.

"I'm sure it's really important for him," manager Joe Girardi
said of Moehler ending his slide.

For the Pirates, it was a matter of going from bad to worse, as
they extended what has become the franchise's second-worst start
since the 19th century.

Only the 1952 Pirates had a worse record (7-31) to this point
than these Pirates -- and they went on to win only 42 of 154 games.
The 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenies, the forerunners to the Pirates,
were 9-28-1 after 38 games.

That the Pirates were dominated by one of the majors'
least-effective starting pitchers only illustrates how poorly they
have played. Their reward? Of all things, a trip to Cooperstown and
the Baseball Hall of Fame for Monday's exhibition game against the
Reds.

Moehler hadn't won in 14 starts and eight relief appearances
since July 20, going 0-10 with an 8.27 ERA overall and 0-9 with an
8.61 ERA in his starts. The Marlins were 3-19 during the
right-handed Moehler's winless streak and were 1-9 in his last 10
starts.

"I've had some good games, it just hasn't worked out," Moehler
said. "You don't think about, you go out there and hopefully give
your team a chance to win every time out."

By contrast, Snell looked to be settling down following a rough
start this season, giving up five earned runs over his previous
four starts. But he retired only four of 14 batters, allowing
Borchard's homer, three singles, walking two, allowing a stolen
base and throwing a wild pitch -- and that was only the first
inning.

In the second, Hanley Ramirez singled for the second of his
three hits and Dan Uggla walked ahead of Cabrera's sixth homer.
After Snell was lifted, Miguel Olivo had a two-run double off
reliever Ryan Vogelsong.

"I just didn't have it," Snell said. "Everything was flat -- I
didn't have any movement, and my slider was flat. They came out
swinging, and they came out swinging hot. They hit the ball pretty
hard."
^Notes:@ The Marlins won a series in Pittsburgh for the first time
since 2001. They were 2-12 there over the last five seasons before
winning the final two games of the series. ... Ramirez really was
the Marlins' leadoff batter -- he led off an inning each of the five
times he batted. ... Ramirez had eight hits in the series. ...
Pirates C Humberto Cota was lifted to start the third because of a
bruised right knee.