PITTSBURGH -- A fish out of water is no pretty sight. Neither are the Miami Marlins, at least not lately, as they struggle along in the midst of a five-game losing streak.
Despite a strong start from Anibal Sanchez, the Marlins fell to the Pirates on Sunday, 3-0. They recorded just five hits in the series finale. The loss sealed a three-game sweep for Pittsburgh, which became the fifth team to accomplish the feat against Miami this season.
"I don't know what to say anymore, to be honest," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "[I was] thinking about it during the game, what I should tell the media, because everything I should say, I already did."
Sanchez did everything he could to keep his team in the game. He surrendered three runs, two of which scored on a home run by Pedro Alvarez. Sanchez (5-7) scattered seven hits over seven innings, striking out eight and walking none.
"We got great pitching from Sanchez. Very good pitching," Guillen said. "Maybe one bad pitch, it was a breaking ball to Alvarez for a home run. But besides that, he threw the ball well."
Sanchez's performance did not, however, bolster a winning effort. The Marlins were shut out for the ninth time this season. They've gone 16 innings without crossing the plate.
"That was a very well-pitched game from both sides," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Sanchez did it with a little more power, but was just as efficient."
It's not as if the Marlins didn't have their chances against Pirates starter Jeff Karstens. To begin the game, four of Miami's first five batters reached base.
Leadoff hitter Jose Reyes reached on an infield single, but was picked off by Karstens (3-2). That was followed by an infield single from Emilio Bonifacio. Carlos Lee and Justin Ruggiano both walked, sandwiching a groundout from Logan Morrison. With the bases loaded, Greg Dobbs flied out to right, ending the threat.
"We've been that team in the other dugout, where you get men on base and can't get a hit, can't find a way to score," Hurdle said. "That's where they've been for a while, in Chicago before they got here, and they had it tough again here. I give our guys credit, we made pitches and we made plays. You've got to earn things up here."
During the current road trip, Miami has been abysmal with runners in scoring position. The Marlins posted a 1-for-4 mark in RISP situations Sunday. Their average during the five-game losing streak is .091.
"That's how good we're playing right now," Guillen said. "Really, we can't get anything done on offense."
The Pirates, on the other hand, grabbed a run soon after the Marlins left the bases loaded in the first. Leadoff hitter Alex Presley singled and then stole second. He scored when Andrew McCutchen laced a single into center field.
Run production. That's one fine example of it. Another came in the seventh inning, when Alvarez belted a two-run shot to push Pittsburgh's lead to three runs.
As for the Marlins, all five of their hits were singles. They grounded into two double plays and stranded four runners in the loss.
Miami was in business in the seventh, too, when Logan Morrison led off with a single. He had stolen second base by the time Dobbs stepped in. Dobbs appeared to line out to left-center, but umpires ruled after the play that the ball touched the ground. That gave the Marlins first and second with one out, but the inning came to a halt when Omar Infante grounded into a double play on the next pitch.
"You can't do much about it. You're shaking your head, and trying to figure out what we can do," Guillen said. "There's really nothing you can do. You just hope those guys go out there and perform better. That's what we hope."
Sanchez threw 112 pitches, 78 of which were strikes. His ERA is now 3.94.
"It's really hard for the team right now," Sanchez said. "Everybody tried to -- not try -- everybody played hard [Sunday].
The Marlins will look to snap their five-gave skid Monday at home. Josh Johnson is scheduled to make the start against the Braves at 7:10 p.m ET.
"I expect my club to come [Monday] hungry, play hard and hopefully we can score some runs," Guillen said. "That's all I can expect from them.
"Get better at-bats, and keep fighting. That's all you can do. We've got a long way to go, but like I say, every day is going to be tougher and tougher. We're making it tougher for [ourselves]. That's the bottom line."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.