8/7/2013 6:40 P.M. ET
Yelich enjoys unique first stolen base
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't exactly Rickey Henderson-like, but Christian Yelich isn't complaining.
In the second inning of the Marlins' 4-3 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday, Yelich was credited with his first MLB stolen base. The swipe came in his 14th big league game, and it wasn't exactly conventional.
Actually, Yelich was almost picked off by lefty Jeff Locke, who threw over to first as the Marlins rookie dashed to second. First baseman Garrett Jones, who throws left-handed, tried to nab Yelich, but his errant toss struck second-base umpire Gary Cederstrom square in the back.
The throw was going to be off the mark, as shortstop Jordy Mercer was moving off the bag to retrieve the ball that never reached him.
Yelich heard a grunt from behind him, unaware of what happened. He also saw the Pirates middle infielders put their gloves over their faces because they were laughing.
In the box score, it goes down as a stolen base.
"It's going to be funny to remember my first stolen base," Yelich said. "I can say, 'The guy smoked the umpire with the throw.' It happens."
Although Yelich is leading off for the Marlins, and he has good speed, he isn't a prototypical stolen-base threat. He's more of a pure hitter who is selective and has the ability to draw walks.
Before being promoted from Double-A Jacksonville, Yelich had five steals in the Minors this season.
He's dealt with some injuries this year, and swiping bases wasn't his priority. Yelich had attempted about four steals since being called up, but on each occasion, the ball was either fouled off or put into play.
Even if the throw didn't peg Cederstrom, Yelich still had a chance to be safe at second.
"You never know on those," the rookie said. "I got a pretty good jump and put the pressure on them to make a good play, and they didn't. That happens. It doesn't happen often, but it did happen."
Extra-base hits eluding scuffling Marlins
PITTSBURGH -- Don't take Logan Morrison the wrong way. To him, singles are just fine, but what the Marlins have been lacking are the game-changing extra-base hits.
A reminder came in the Marlins' 4-3 loss on Tuesday night to the Pirates.
Miami slapped out 11 hits -- 10 singles and Ed Lucas' double.
"We've got to drive balls in the gaps," said Morrison, Miami's 25-year-old first baseman. "Eleven hits are nice, but it doesn't matter if you don't put any runs up, and they're all singles. Credit their pitching, but at the same time, we've got to find a way."
A lack of offense has plagued Miami all season.
The Marlins rank last in numerous significant hitting categories. They're last in the Majors in runs (357), home runs (63), doubles (145), batting average (.232) and slugging percentage (.334).
"Singles are great, but what does it really do if there is nobody in scoring position?" Morrison said. "It prolongs the innings, makes the pitcher throw a couple of more pitches. All that matters is you scoring more runs than the other team."
Morrison encountered some bad luck on Tuesday, as his long drive to right field clanked off the top of the 21-foot wall in right field. Instead of a three-run homer, it was an RBI single, as he had to stop at first.
Because legendary Roberto Clemente played right field and wore No. 21, the wall in right at PNC Park was set the same height as the Hall of Famer's number.
A foot lower, and Morrison likely would have had a three-run homer.
"Singles aren't working, so try to drive more balls into the gap," Morrison said.
Collectively, the Marlins have to focus on winning the mini-battles throughout games.
"I think it's just about competing," Morrison said. "It's going out and winning every pitch, whether you get out or not. If you're tough, you're making them work and you don't just give yourself up. You're grinding it out. I think guys are doing that. We're a young team. We're going to go through spells like this, even if you're old. I'd rather be young."
Lucas continues to be a man of many gloves
PITTSBURGH -- The many gloves of Ed Lucas have come in handy for the Marlins.
The 31-year-old rookie, who possesses an Ivy League degree from Dartmouth, has played himself into being one of the club's most versatile performers.
Steady anywhere he is placed on the field, Lucas has already played five positions. He's mostly been used at second and third base, but he's also seen time at shortstop, first base and left field.
In case of an emergency, he is listed as Miami's third-string catcher.
"I really can't take him out of the game," manager Mike Redmond said.
In cases of double-switches, Lucas has found himself shifting from either third base to second or first, or from second base to third. He's typically the player who remains in the game in those situations.
Third base is where he has been used most often, appearing in 37 games, with 35 starts. He's also play second base 13 times, with three starts. First base was a new position for him, but he's played there in nine games, with seven starts.
• Redmond is being careful not to overwork Jeff Mathis, who has been handling a bulk of the catching duties. Rob Brantly got the start on Wednesday night, catching Tom Koehler. Mathis will be back in the lineup on Thursday afternoon to handle rookie phenom Jose Fernandez. The 12:35 p.m. ET series finale on Thursday will not be on television in South Florida, but will be on MLB.TV.
• Casey Kotchman, on the disabled list since June with a left oblique strain, is close to playing rehab-assignment games. Chris Coghlan (back nerve irritation) has been doing baseball activities in Jupiter, Fla., but he is not close to seeing game action.