Ricky Nolasco helps Marlins end four-game losing streak

PITTSBURGH -- Ricky Nolasco used his arm and bat to help the Florida Marlins have fun again.

Nolasco pitched six shutout innings for the second consecutive start and added two hits and two RBIs as the Marlins snapped a four-game losing streak with a 6-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

"Our intensity and our competitiveness was at a different level tonight, and I think our level of having fun was at a higher level, too," said second baseman Dan Uggla, who was vocal during a closed-door, players-only meeting after a 7-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday. "I think everybody showed up with a different attitude today. Everyone was smiling all day. I think we came out with a much higher level of intensity."

Nolasco (14-8) extended his road winning streak to seven games and won for the fifth time in six starts overall. He allowed five hits -- all singles -- and a walk with nine strikeouts.

"Whenever he can throw his breaking ball for a strike in any count, we pretty much know early on he's going to have a good game," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "That's what happened tonight."

Nolasco, 10-2 on the road this season, also snapped Florida's streak of 34 hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position with a fifth-inning RBI single.

That scored Wes Helms to break a scoreless tie and was the first of four consecutive singles, the last of which was Gaby Sanchez's liner to right that scored Nolasco and Hanley Ramirez. Uggla followed with a sacrifice fly.

"I don't think it was on our minds we hadn't gotten a hit with runners in scoring position," said Sanchez, who had two hits and two RBIs. "[Nolasco's hit] just sparked us, and we were able to get rolling and keep it going."

Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez each had two hits for Pittsburgh, which has lost eight of nine and was shut out for the 13th time this season.

The second Pittsburgh batter of the game, Tabata, singled. But he was caught stealing, and Nolasco retired the next 15 Pirates before pinch-hitter Andy LaRoche's two-out single in the sixth.

Andrew McCutchen then walked and Tabata hit an infield single to load the bases. But Nolasco struck out No. 3 hitter Neil Walker swinging.

"I threw a real good splitter there on a 2-2 count, and he chased it and I got the strikeout," Nolasco said. "That obviously was probably the biggest pitch of the game."

The first two batters of the next inning singled, but Jose Veras induced Ryan Doumit to fly out on his first pitch and got Chris Snyder to ground into a double play.

Veras clenched his fists and raised his arms while walking off the mound.

"I just think that people were having a lot more fun playing," Sanchez said. "We had just been flat, like in the dugout, and I felt like today there definitely was a lot more energy, with guys talking and going around. It definitely showed."

Pirates starter Zach Duke (5-12) had allowed only three hits through the first four innings until the four-run fifth.

"That's hurt him this year, getting into those innings he can't get out of," Pirates manager John Russell said. "He was going along pretty well until that inning."

Nolasco drove in another run the following inning with a two-out double to the same vicinity as his first hit.

"The intensity was there," Rodriguez said. "The desire was there. It was good to see."

Despite spending nearly a month on the disabled list, Duke moved into a tie for the second-most losses in the majors. He allowed five runs on nine hits and two walks in falling to 0-4 lifetime against the Marlins.

"I started leaving the ball up, and when you do that, obviously, you pay for it," Duke said. "I'm just going to try to erase that start from my memory."

Game notes
Florida improved to 22-12 when facing a left-handed starter. ... The Pirates have scored one or zero runs in 24 of their 119 games this season, or more than 20 percent of the time. ... The Marlins had lost their previous five games at PNC Park. ... Marlins rookie outfielder Logan Morrison went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI.